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Study in the Development of Brazilian Civ 

introduction by David H. P. Maybury-Lewis 


Xh± s On© 





A Study in the Development of Brazilian 



Gilberto Freyre 


[Second English-Lmguage Edmon^ Revised] 

Introduction to the Paperback Edition by 

David H. P. Maybury-Lewis 

Berkeley Los Alleles London 

Copyrighted material 

University of California Press 
Beriiclcy and Los Angeles, Calitornia 

University of Califwnift Press, Ltd. 
London, England 

Copyri^t O 1986 by Tlie Regents cf tiie UniversiQr of California 

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data 

Freyre, Gilberto, 1900- 
The masters and the slaves » Casa-grande & senzala. 

Bibliography: p. 

Includes indexes. 

I. Brazil — Social life and customs. 2. Brazil — C^ivilization — ^African influences. 
^. Slavery — Brazil — History 4. Blacks — Brazil — Histor\'. 5. Indians of South 
America — Brazil — History. 6. Family — Brazil — History. I. Title. II. Title: 
Casa-grande &. sensaia. III. I itle: Casa-grande e senzala. 
F2510.F7522 1986 981 8^19197 

ISBN 0-520-05665-5 (pbk. : alk. paper) 

Printed in the United Sutes of America 

Copyiiytited material 

In Memory of My Grandparents 




Copyrighted material 


Preface to the First Elnglish-Language Edition 


Preface to the Second Fnglish-Lan^iiage Edition 


Translator's Acknowledgments 


Author's Preface to the Panerhack F/lition 


IntrnHiirtinn tn thp Píir>í*rhíirk Pilition 



I General Characteristics of the Portuguese Colonization 

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IV The Nepro Slave in the Sexual and Fantilv Life 

of the Brazilian 


V The Negro Slave in the Sexual and Family Life 

of the Brazilian (continued) 


Plans showing Big House of the Noruega Plantation 


Glossary of the Brazilian Terms Used 




Index of Names 


Index of Subjects 





This essay Is the first of a series in which I have undertaken to 
study the formation and disintegration of patriarchal society in Bra- 
zil, a society that grew up around the first sugar-mills or sugar planta- 
tions established by Europeans in our country, in the sixteenth century. 
It was upon this basis that the society in question developed: the 
production of sugar by means of a socio-economic system that repre- 
sented, in a wav, a rc\'i\ al of European feudalism in the American 
tropics. In the nineteenth century the system was to undergo an al- 
tecadon that was not so much one of form or sociological characteris- 
tics as of economic content or cultural substance, through the substi- 
tution of co£iee for sugar as the mainstay of the regime. 

Sociologically matured through an experience of three centuries, 
the tropical feudalism of Brazil has conditioned the expression of life 
and culture and the relations of man with nature in this part of the 
Americas down to our own time, and its disintegration is a process 
that today may still be studied in a living form; for its survivals con- 
stitute the most typical elements of the Brazilian landscape, ph3rsical as 
well as social. The majority of our countrymen are the near descend- 
ants either of masters or of slaves, and many of them have sprung 
from the union of slave-owners with slave women. The visiting f or- 
dgner cannot be said to have seen Brazil unless he has been in the old 
Big House of some sugar or coffee plantation, with what is left of its 
famHy silver, its rosewood, its porcelain, its ancestral portraits, its 
garden, its slave quarters, and its chapel filled with images of the 
saints and the mortal remains of former inmates. These Big Houses, 
slave quarters, and plantarion chapels blend harmoniously wiili the 
fields of sugar-cane, the coffee proves, the palm trees, the mangoes, 
the breadfruit trees; with the hiUs and plains, the tropical or semi- 
tropical forest; die rivers and waterfalls; with the horse-teams of the 
former masters and the oxen that were the companions in labor of the 
slaves. They likewise blend with those descendants of the white or 
near-white masters and of the Negro, mulatto, or cafuso ^ slaves who 
out of inertia have remained rooted in these old places where their 
grandfathers held aristocraric sway or engaged in servile toil. 

^ Offspring of Indian and Negro. (Translator.) 


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The Masters and the Slaves 

So perfect is this fusion that, even though they are now all but life- 
less, these old elements, or mere fragments, of the patriarchal regime 
in Brazil are still the best integrated of any with their environment 
and, to all appearances, the best adapted to the climate. As a result, 
the curious observer of today has the impression that they have grown 
up together fraternally, and that, rather than being mutually hostile 
by reason of their antagonisms, they complement one another with 
their differences. Men, animals, houses, vegetables, techniques, values, 
symbols, some of remote derivation, others native— all of these today, 
now that the conflict between modes of life and the at times bitter 
clash of interests have subáded, tend to form one of the most hamMmi- 
ons unions of culture with nature and of one cultore vnáí another 
that the lands of this hemisphere have ever known. 

If we speak of a unkm of cultures, it is for the reason that the most 
diverse ethnic factors have contributed to this picture, bringing ivith 
them cultural heritages that were widely different and even opposed: 
the Portuguese "old Christian," * the Jew, the Spaniard, the Dutch, 
the French, the Negro, the Amerindian, the descendant of the Moor. 
As for the Jew, there is evidence to the effect that he was one of the 

most active agents in the winning of a market for the sugar-producers 
of Brazil, a function that, during the first century of colonization, he 
fulfilled to the great advantage of this part of the Americas. He would 
appear to have been the most efficient of those technicians responsible 
for setting up the first sugar-mills. The history of patriarchal society 
in Brazil is, for this reason, mseparable from the history of the Jew In 
America. In speddng of his economic activity in the post-Columbian 
world, the fact shomd be stressed that amon^ the Portuguese of the 
continent theological hatreds and violent racial antipathies or preju- 
dices were rarety manifested. The same is true of the relations be- 
tween whites and blacks: those hatreds due to daas or caste, extended, 
and at times disguised, in the form of race hatred, such as marked the 
history of other slave-holding areas in the Americas, were seldom 
carried to any such extreme in BraziL The absence of violent rancors 
due to race constitutes one of the peculiarities of the feudal system 
in the tropics, a system that, in a manner of speaking, had been sof- 
tened by the hot dimate and by the effects of a miscegenation that 
tended to dissolve such prejudices. This was the system diat; in our 
country, grew up around the sugar-miOs and, later, the coffee plant»- 

* As distinguished from the "new- Christian baptism, the impliciirion be- 
Christian," the latter being a euphe- ing, frequently, that he still clung to 
mism for a Jew who had accepted his old faith. (Translator.) 

CopviiyikCJ 1 1 i UlCI lal 

Preface to the First EnglislhLanguage Edition xiS 

To be sure, the social distance between masters and slaves under 
this system, corresponding to differences in color, was an enormous 
one, the whites being really or officially the masters and the blacks 
really or officially the slaves.^ The Portuguese, however, were a peo- 
ple who had experienced the rule of the Moors, a dark-skinned race 
out one that was superior to the white race in various aspects of its 
moral and material culture; and accordingly, though they themselves 
might be white and even of a pronounced blond type, they had long 
since formed the habit of discovering in colored peoples— or, as "old 
Christians," in the people of Israel and Mohammedans as well- 
persons, human beings, who were brothers, creatures and children of 
God with whom it was possible to fraternize, and with whom, as a 
matter of fact, their forebears had had fraternal relations. And all of 
this, from tiie veiy first years of colonizatíon, tended to mitigate the 
system. It was diis habit that led the Portuguese readity to adbpt tiie 
foodstuffis, standards of feminine beauty, and modes of life of peoples 
that by odier Europeans were looked upon as being absolutely in- 
ferior; and to this liberal atdtude certain students of the subject have 
given the name ^usitanian Frandscanism.*' ^ 

It is a known fact that, in some of tiie best Portuguese families at 
the time of tiie colonization of B^cazil there was Jemh, Moorish, or 
Indian blood, and this m no wise detracted from the prestige of liie 
families in question when these strauis were of sooally mustrious 
origin. The same thing happened in America, where one of the first 
Bnóilian colonists, a man of noble birth, was married to the daughter 
of an Indian chief. They had many descendants who became out- 
standing figures among the agrarian aristocracy and in the field of 
politics, literature, the magistracy, and the colonial clergy, a state of 
affairs that continued under the Empire and down to our own day. 
It was one of these descendants who became South America's first 

It thereby becomes possible to interpret the formation of Brazilian 
society in the light of a "synthetic principle"— to make use of an ex- 
pression consecrated by usage— such as, perhaps, could not be applied 
with a like degree of appropriateness to any other society. So viewed, 
our social history, despite the grievous and persisting imprint left 

* The color line between master the slave very often was partly white, 
and slave, as is brought out later (see (Translator.) 
p.ixir>nu),wisfarnombeiiigalwvys *The aUnnoii, of oouise, is to the 
disrinct. The master might be a bran- teachings or general attitude of St. 
MrSa. or light-skinned mulatto, and Francis of Assisi and the Fxandacui 

Order. (Translator.) 

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xiv The Masters and the Slaves 

upon it by the experiences of a feudal economic system, is undergo- 
ing a process whose direction is that of a broad democratization. A 
democratization of interhuman relationships, of interpersonal rela- 
tions, of relations between groups and bet^veen regions. The fact of 
the matter is that miscegenation and the interpenetration of cultures 
—chiefly European, Amerindian, and African culture— together with 
the possibilities and opportunities for rising in the social scale that in 
the past have been open to slaves, individuals of the colored races, 
and even heretics: the possibility and the opportunity of becoming 
free men and, in the official sense, whites and Christians (if not 
theologically sound, at any race sociologically valid ones) —the fact 
is that all these things, from an early period, have tended to mollify 
the inteiclM «id imetradd anug^ 
ciaac economy. 

Accepting this interpretation of Brazilian history as a march toward 
social democracy, a march that has on various occasions been inter- 
rapted and frequently has been disturbed and rendered difEcult, we 
are unable to conceive of a society with tendencies more opposed to 
diose of the Germanic Weltanschauung, What we have here is a 
society whose national direction is in^ired not by the blood-stream 
of families, much less that of a race, as the expression of a biological 
reality, nor, on the other hand, by an all-powerful State or Church; 
it is, rather, one of diverse ethnic origins with varying cultural herit- 
ages which a feudal economic system maintained throughout whole 
centuries in a relative degree of order, without being able, mean- 
while, to destroy the potential of the subordinated cultures by bring- 
ing about the triumph of the master-class culture to the exclusion of 
the others. 

The sentiment of nationality in the Brazilian has been deeply af- 
fected by the fact that the feudal system did not here permit of a 
State that was wholly dominant or a Church that was omnipotent, as 
well as by the circumstance of miscegenation as practiced under the 
wing of that system and at the same time practiced against it, thus 
rendering less eas^ the absolute identification of the ruling class with 
the pure or quasi-pure European stock of the principal conquerors, 
die Portuguese. The result is a national sentiment tempered by a 
sympathy for the foreigner that is so broad as to become, practically, 
universaiism. It would, indeed, be impossible to conceive of a people 
mardiing onward roward social democracy that in place of being uni- 
versal in its tendencies should be narrowly exclusive or ethnocentric. 

It would, truly enough, be ridiculous to pretend that the long 
period, ever since colonial times, during which a large part of Brazil 

Copyrighted material 

Preface to the First English-Language Editio?i xv 

had lived under a system of feudal organízatíon had predisposed its 
people to the practice of political democracy, which recently un- 
derwent a crisis among us under a dictatorship that was at once 
near-fascist' in its ideology and Brazilian and paternalistic in fact. 
The major effort that is being put forth by the apologists of the pres- 
ent dictator is in the direction of popularizing tmn as the "Father" of 
his people, the "Father" of the workers or of the poor. It seems to me, 
meanwhile, that no student of Luso-American society can fail to 
recognize úkt faa that-as a consequeace of the weakness rather than 
the virtue of the slave-holders and landowners— what I have here 
called Brazilian feudalism was in reality a combination of aristocracy, 
democracy, and even anarchy. And this union of opposites would ap- 
pear to be serving as the basis for the development in Brazil of a 
society that is democratic in its ethnic, social, and cultural composi- 
tion and, at the same time, aristocratic in its cult of superior individ- 
uals and superior families, and in the tolerance that it accords to dif- 
fering personalities. 

Hence a certain fondness tliat the Brazilian has for honoring dif- 
f oences. In Brazil individuals of the most widely varied social origins 
and personalides, differing likewise in race or religion, or by the fact 
that some are the descendants of Negro slaves while others are of 
white European or caboclo ® ancestry, have risen to the highest posi- 
tions. Some have been the sons of black women, like the one-time 
Archbishop of Mariana, Doiii Silvério. Another, like the ex-Chancel- 
lor I.auro Muller, may be the son of an impoverished German im- 
migrant. Still another may be the son of a non-Portuguese Jew, like 
David Campista, who was for some time Minister of Finance, and who 
in 19 1 o was practically President of the Republic. TTie most divergent 
types, in short, have been the object of the Brazilian's admiration and 
of his confidence. We Brazilians— and this, paradoxical as it may ap- 
pear, is due to the effect of our "feudalism," which was at once 
aristocratic, democratic, and anarchistic in tendency — do not possess 
that cult of uniformity and horror of individual, family, and regional 
differences which are the accompaniments of the equalitarian spirit 
throughout so large a part of English-speaking America. 

There are men in the public life of our country today, descendants 
of old and feudal families, of whom everyone knows just what service 
to the nation or to the community is to be expected, so marked are the 
characteristics and the differences of each one of these families. The 
Andradas of São Paulo, for example, are known for their stem ideal- 

^**Para'fascistif* is Fieyie's wofd. * American Indian or Indian-white 
(Translator.) mixture. (Translator.) 

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ism; the Cabnoos are noted for thdr suavity and ^int of conciliation; 
the Prados are realistic conservatives, the Mendes de Ahneidas con- 
servative idealises. This, to dte but a ÍFew. Yet such is our leqpect for 
individual differences that no one would be surprised to see a Prado 
a Oxmniunist leader in politics or a Mender de Âhneida a Surrealist in 
poetry or in art. We have seen the son of one old feudal family 
embarking for India and turning fakir; another, m Paris^ became an 
airplane-inventor; a third, bade in the days of davery, became an 
abolitionist agitator; a fourth was a Protestant leader and terribly 
antipapist. And none of these was regarded as a madman. On the 
contrary, all were admired by dieir fellow countrymen; for the latter 
love and esteem those individuals who stand out by reason of their 
superior talents, knowledge, or virtue. 

One word more, with regard to the title of the present ess^ in the 
original That tide does not mean that I have undertaken to trace 
the history of domestic architecture in patriarchal Brazil, with added 
commentaries of a soddogical nature. The two expressions that make 
up die ritle-d&e Portuguese casa-^grande (that is, big house or mansion 
in English) and the African semaU (slave quarters) —have here a 
symbolic intendon, the purpose being to suggest tJie cultural antago- 
nism and social disóncebetween masters and âaves» whites and blades^ 
Europeans and Africans, as marked by the residence of each group in 
Brazil from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. An antagonism 
and a distance that conditioned the evolvement of the patriarchal- 
agrarian or, simply, the feudal complex ^ in Portuguese America, and 
which were in their turn conditioned by other influences: that of the 
physical environment and those deriving from the antecedents of the 
Portuguese colonizer, of the Negro, and of the native or caboclo. 
Without for a moment forgetting the fact that the antagonism and 
distance of which we are speaking had their force broken by the in- 
terpenetration of cultures and by miscegenation -the democrarizing 
factors of a society that otherwise would have remained divided into 
two irreconcilable groups— we cannot view with indifference the 
aristocratic effect of those interpersonal and interregional relations 
symbolized by the Big-House-and-Slav e-Quarters complex in the his- 
tory of Brazilian society and Brazilian culture. 

Availing myself, then, of this symbolism (which since the first ap- 
pearance of this essay, in 1933, has been utilized by other students of 
our history, sociology, and economy), my purpose has been to "evoke 

^ The author employs this tenn in the sociological sense; see p. 133, note 172. 

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Preface to the First English-Language Edition xvii 

that clear-cut image" which, as a distinguished Hispanic-Amedcan 
historian -a disciple, it may be, of Hans Freyer—ohserved not so loi^ 
ago, is the recourse open to historical sociologists, confronted as they 
often are with the impossibility of reducing *'the characteristics of a 
historical process to the precision of a concept,'' or of subjecting them 
to "hard and fast limitations" 

Gilberto Freyre 

Ree^e, Jtdy 194S 

Copyrighted material 


Rather than preserve here all the prefaces written for the several 
Portuguese editions of Casa-Grande & Senzala, I have decided to keep 

only the Preface written especially for the First English-Language 
Edition, and to fuse the others into this single synthetic Preface. 

Accomplishing this was not easv^ Prefaces for new editions, now as 
always being written by the calendar, I faced a problem of time. Also, 
there was something journalistic about rhc Portuguese Prefaces which 
makes them valual)le only in relation to their dates. Nevertheless, some 
of the tentative ideas set forth in a preface may have both a chrono- 
logical time-value and a psychological value in relation to a book that 
docs not die in its first, second, or third edition. Such ideas and their 
possible psychological time-values are the ones I have included in this 
synthetic Preface. In doing this I have tried to fuse the several Portu- 
guese Prefaces in the light of Dr. Johnson's generalization: "In con- 
templation we easily contract the time of real actions, and therefore 
willingly permit it to be contracted when we only see their imitation." 

When I wrote the long Preface to the First Portuguese-Language 
Edition of my first long essay on the patriarchal society of Brazil— 
from the days when Brazil was a colony of the king of Portugal to the 
first period of the equally patriarchal and almost equalK' colonial na- 
tional monarchy— and when I wrote the long Preface to the Second 
Portuguese-Language Edition, I was performing a sort of pioneering 
work which necessitated justification of some of my unorthodox 
methods. Those methods were somewhat more scandalous to some 
academic minds then than they are today-in fact, they were almost 
pure heresy. 

Now that in the English-speaking world a writer like Mr. David 
Riesman has won recognition for books that (according to a favorable 
criticism of them) "cut across the social sciences," here picking a 
method of treatment from anthropology and using it to handle his- 
tory, there mingling ideas from psychoanalysis and economics and 
"enriching the result" — as a critic has pointed out— "with literary ref- 
erences" (from Tolstoy, Samuel Butler, Virginia Woolf, Franz 
Kafka, St. Augustine, Niet/schc, Cervantes, Joyce, etc.) and, besides 
this, presenting himself "relatively free of academic jargon," it is no 


Copyiiytited material 

Preface to the Seco7id English-Language Edition xix 

longer shocking for a Brazilian author to have done predsely that 
years before The Lonely Crowd was published. 

Remembering some of the sharp or sarcastic remarks of strictly 
academic critics (English-speaking and Brazilian) about my pioneer- 
ing work, 1 can now neutralize their poison -for they meant to kill 
what they considered to be an absurd book-with the generous under- 
standing that I have met more recently not only in Europe (especially 
France), but also in the two Americas. This generous undemanding 
has been coming more and more from such orthodox or conservative 
academic centers as the Sorbonne, the University of Strasbourg, Hei- 
delberg, Rome, Coimbra, and -in the United States-such universities 
as Virginia, Princeton, Harvard, Northwestern, and G>lumbia. It was 
at G)lumbia, years ago, that I did graduate work with a scholar who 
was one of die first to think my experimental work not entirely 
worthless: Franz Boas. Another who found some worth in my scan- 
dalous book soon after its appearance was Senor José Ortega y Gasset; 
a third was the Swiss anthropologist Alfred Métraux. 

AnorhtT significant change tending to prove that time has much to 
do with the fate of books has occurred in the attitude of some of the 
conservative groups that at first, through a few of their most repre- 
sentative voices, considered the present book hostile to them -some of 
the Jesuits, for example, and some Jewish leaders who went so far as 
to see "anti-Semitism" in my book. Now a better understanding is 
evident in both groups. Êtiides^ the well-known publication of the 
Paris Jesuits, regretted— in a book review published in 1952 -that this 
book had not been translated sooner into French. Some outstanding 
Jewish leaders in Europe, the United States, and Latin America have 
publicly acknowledged my work as an endeavor to do justice to the 
Jewish contribution to Iberian civilization. In recent years also, the 
Communists, who at first totjk the attitude that this book was written 
from an "unprogressive" point of view, being too nostalgic over a 
past that should be repudiated by those who believe in "social prog- 
ress," have become more tolerant of my ideas and my methods. 

The fact is, of course, that I never meant to be anti-Jesuit or anti- 
Semitic. 1 admire the Jesuits, and I have always pointed out that 
Iberian and Ibcro-Amcrican populations and cultures owe much to 
both Jewish and Moorish elements and values. Nor did I intend to 
oppose to "progressive" Communism, of Russian or some other style, 
a systematic or sentimental apology for the Luso-Brazilian "feudair 
istic" past. What 1 wanted to save from conventionally narrow points 
of view was a number of such Luso-Brazilian achievements as misce- 
genation and the fusion of cultural values which pseudosodal sáeor 

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tists like Gustave Le Bon have represented as absolutely disgraceful 
or harmful to so-called human progress. Those achievements are now 
being seen by other, technically more progressive peoples as culturally 
and politically valuable anticipations of what some modern thinkers, 
social anthropologists, and statesmen now consider to be adequate Eu- 
ropean behavior in tropical areas, areas in which European civilization 
enters into close relations with a non-£uiopean physical milieu and 
non-European races and cultures. 

Thanks to my English-language publisher, Mr. Alfred A. Knopf, 
this book reappears in English not as a mere expression of a Latin 
American writer endeavoring to consider a Latin American situation 
through purely Latin American eyes, but as of possible human interest 
exceeding and transcending its regional significance and regional mate- 
lial. It was thus treated by European critics when presented in the 
French translatkm published by GaUimard in Park— an edition which, 
appearing in 1952, has already beoi reprinted seven times. A French 
critic said that a book can be at once regkmal and universal in úu^ 
perspective it tries to open up, in a pioneering way, with regard to 
primarily human matters needing to be considered whenever possible 
as human wholes or complexes witlim their regional configmariong (in 
this case a Latin American configuration). Such wholes or complexes 
should not be sacrificed entirely to the treatment generally given them 
by rigid specialists in one or another branch of the social sciences, 
social history, or human geography, a treatment tending to deal with 
them as dry, dead fragments of wholes that on being dealt with in 
this anatomical way immediately cease to be living realities. 

As I said above, since the firstpublication of this book in Portuguese 
in Rio de Janeiro in December 1933, books with this inter-related^ 
int^[ratíve point of view have appeared in the United States and have 
been well treated even by acadcanic crirics. But in 1933 a book of this 
adventurous, experimental sort was considered to be violently opposed 
to the dominant academic orthodoxy in the United States and other 
countries. For excessive academic specialization had perverted social 
studies with extremes of pedantic purity. Aiming to separate such 
studies entirety from literature and other humanities, such spedaliz»- 
tion succeeded only in makmg most social studies caricatures of the 
biological or physical sciences. 

Quilhes in attitude in die relations between social sdences and the 
humanities have been such in tlie United Stales and Europe during the 
past decade that univecsity teacheis of sociology, psychology, and 
odier social sdences frankly admit diat die social problems crafront- 
ing the modem woiM challenge everyone to seek greater social in- 

CopviiyikCJ 1 1 i UlCI lal 

Preface to the Second English-Language Edition xxi 

sight. They admit that awareness and understanding of human values 
and relationships may be increased in students of social subjects if to 
the purely scientific analysis of these subjects are added other ap- 
proaches, including disciplines from history, literature, philosophy, 
the humanities. This explains the publication in English for the use of 
stadents of sodai sdences-particularly of social anthropoiogy-of 
books in which short stories and noveb are employed to increase that 
awareness and that understanding. This inteirelationistic or-as some 
would prefer to call it-integrative point of view dominates the area 
studies that have been introduced in a number of Anglo-American 
univeirities since the Second World War. Those stages have had 
valuable consequences for die study of social and cultural problems as 
r^|ional wholes or complexes. The value of literary and foUdoric ap- 
proadies should not be disregarded or thought unworthy of con- 
tributing, alongside scientific analysis of their inter-rebtioimiips, to a 
deeper, more comprehensive interpretation of such regional com- 

In writing on the patriarchal society of Brazil an essay that was also 
an attempt to analyze and interpret the meeting in a tropical area of a 
European civilization and at least two primitive cultures, as well as 
other non-European influences such as those brought to Brazil from 
the Orient by the Portuguese, I was trying to accomplish a pale equiv- 
alent of what Picasso has masterfully accomplished in plastic art: the 
merging of the analytic and the organic approaches to man: what one 
of his critics has called "a creative image." By doing that, the same 
critic said, Picasso promoted the intrusion of scientific dissection into 
art, thus showing by his action an accord with some aspects of modern 
science. But in this attempt to define the organic bases of form in all 
their possible virgin condition -through intuitive as well as concrete 
study of the Negro and the Polynesian— Picasso linked himself with 
the rebellion against some aspects of modern academic science. His 
aim, however, having been to express new potentiaHties of integration 
that might resolve contradictions, his pioneering work may be con- 
sidered an example (as some of his critics have pointed out) of the 
way by which the union of images, ideas, and forms drawn partly 
from science and partly from anthropological material artistically ap- 
prehended may become an expression of what one of these penetrating 
critics, the Englishman J. Lindsay, considers "the unitary trend which 
is emerging in all really creative work of our period. . . 

For, as Mr. Lindsay points out in his very intelligent pages on the 
present status of anthropology in relation to art, only a unitary meth- 
odology in anthropolopcal studies "can make the whole human tradi- 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

tion a vital part of common experience," thus overcoming "the dead- 
ening and disintegrative forces of an industrialism based on mechanist 
science," disintegrative forces that have radically separated technically 
successful types of culture from the subdued or technically dominated 
ones, breaking the unity of man into at least two antagonistic types. 
The truth really seems to be that only "within" the living whole of 
human development can the relations between what is arbitrarily con- 
sidered rationality and irrationality in human behavior, or between 
different human cultures, be fully understood. Consequently, one is 
justified in associating anthropology with history, folklore with litera- 
ture, when one has to deal, as in the case of Brazil, with a human 
development in which "rational" and "irrational," "civilized" and 
"primitive" elements have mingled intimately, all contributing to the 
process of adaptation to life in a tropical and quasi-tropical area of a 
new type of society and a new harmony among otherwise antagonistic 
men— white and black, European and brown, civilized and piimitive. 

In attempting to do this, I was reminded more than once of the 
words of Henry James concerning the novel as vital literature. The 
novel to him was indeed "a living thing, all one and condnnous . . • 
in each of the parts there is something of each of the other parts.** 

Of a history like the one outlined in this book-part history, part 
anthropology, part genetic or psychological sociology -with time- 
values that are also modified by differences of approach—the anthro- 
pological and the historical— I might say that; within modest limits, it 
was history attempted also as "a living thing, all one and continu- 
ous . . with something from one past always present in the other 
pasts. My aim has been to reach what Mr. Lindsay calls "a creative 
image." Hence the literary character of this anthropological-historical 
essay, which has been pointed out by some of the ablest French, Ital- 
ian, German, and British critics in their generous comments, and ir- 
respective of their "Existentialist" or "Sartrist" views of literature and 
of their Roman Catholic or Marxist or post-Marxist ideology. This 
literary character, not sacrificing its possible scientific structure-a 
structure maintained by a combination of several scientific approaches 
-was most clearly pointed out in Le Figaro Lktérmre, by M. Ândré 
Rousseauz, and by die critic of The Ecanamst (London). 

Some writers have compared the "creative image'' aimed at in this 
essay, as it tries to fuse the historical and anthropological past and 
their mixture with the present, with the Proustian technique of re- 
capturing the past. In both cases there is a study of human figures and 
social situations in which the apprehension of those realities by the 
scientific observer's eyes, as space-forms, is completed by the appre- 

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Preface to the Second En polish-Language Edition xxiii 

hension of the same realities by the observer's participant mind, as 
time-formations. This technique is illustrated by Proust's conception 
of the Duchesse de Guermantes as "a collective name . . . not merely 
in history, by the accumulation of all the women who have succes- 
sively borne it, but also in the course of my own short life, which has 
already seen, in this single Duchesse de Guermantes, so many diffecent 
women superimpose mdnselves, each one vanishing as soon as the 
next has acquired sufficient consistency.*' 

In writing this book, which deals also with barons and baronesses, 
with captains and captains' wives from the colonial and imperial days 
of Brazil— men and women whose names were also collective, and 
whose succession in Brazilian life also was sociological as well as his- 
torical, in the sense that some of them were always masters in relarion 
to slaves-I did indeed try to follow them as time-formatíons and, at 
the same rime, as regional space-forms. I have tried to do this from a 
historical-sociological or historical-anthropological point of view, per- 
haps aided in some instances by a literary intrusion of my own person 
as participating in a social and psychological present still pregnant 
with the past, a historical past mainly European, and an anthropologi- 
cal past mainly Amerindian and African. The latter was represented 
by the influence of native women upon conquerors somewhat lost in 
the tropical wilderness, of slaves upon the minds, culture, and some- 
times the bodies of the masters. 

A modern Anglo-American sociologist has written that where 
Freud abstracts the Hbido, sociologists might abstract status. In rela- 
tion to the Brazilian past, as in relation to other national and regional 
pasts, perhaps both libido and status should be abstracted. The socio- 
logical treatment of history should be supplemented with a psycho- 
logical treatment. To do that was my aim in this book. 

It is now generally admitted hy anthropologists and sociologists 
that social science has become less intolerant than it was twenty years 
ago of what was then considered subjective psychology. Recesses of 
the mind -individual and collective, present and past-not to be visited 
easily by objectiv^e sociologists or anthropologists are now admitted 
to exist bv an increasinir number of students of human behavior and 
the human past, some of \\ hom recognize the possibility of exploring 
those recesses by not entirely objective techniques and methods. 

Now a few words as to how this essay was conceived and written, 
how it developed into an unorthodox book under both academic and 
extra-academic influences that led me to a new and adventurous treat- 
ment of a complex subject. 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

In October 1930 I embarked upon the adventure of exile, going to 
Bahia and Portugal, with Africa as a port of call -the ideal journey for 
the studious interests reflected in this book. I was secretary to the 
governor of Pernambuco when the 1930 revolution broke out there 
with un-Brazilian violence. People died on both sides, and seventeen 
residences were burned in the city of Recife, that of my own family 
included. Although non-partisan, I suffered the effects of partisan 
violence and, to my surprise and that of others, became a political 
émigré in Portugal, the United States, and Germany. 

While in Portugal I unexpectedly received, in February 193 1, an 
invitation from Stanford University to be one of its visiting professors 
in the spring of that year. With nostalgic regret I left Lisbon, where 
this time, in the course of a few months of leisure, I had been able to 
familiarize myself with the National Library, with the collecdoos in 
the Ethnological Museum, with novel vintages of port, and with new 
varieties of codfish and sweetmeats. Added to this had been the 
pleasure of viewing Gntra and the Estories once again and of greet- 
ing distinguished acquaintances, among them the admirable scholar 
João Lúcio de Azevedo. 

A similar opportunity had been mine in Bahia— known to me of 

old, but only from brief visits. Residing in Salvador, I could take my 
time in becoming acquainted not only with the collections in the 
Nina Rodrigues Museum of Afro-Bahian antiquities, with the art of 
apparel of the Negro women confectionery workers, and that art 
which they^ employ in the decoration of their cakes and cake-trays,* 
but also with certain more indmate delights of the Bahian kitchen and 
sweetmeat shcm that escape the obser^ttioii of the ordinary tourist, 
representing the more refined culinary tastes of the old Big House 
that have K>und in the hearths and cike4x)ards of Bahia their last 
stronghold and, God grant; an invincible one. I hete must oq>ress my 
thanks to the Galmoo, Freire de Cánralho, and Costa FSmo fami^ 
well as to Professor Bemadino de Sousa of the Historical Institute, to 
Brother Philotheu, superior of the Franciscan Monastery, and to the 
Negro woman Maria Ináda, who provided me with interesting data 
cm the dress of the Bahian women and the decoration of sweetmeat- 
trays. '^Une cmsme et vne poUtessef Otd, ks deux signes de vieiUe 

separate study might well be trays and the packing of the sweets, 

made of the decorative and possibly and the forms that they give to their 

mystícal motives employed by these cakes, sugar-pastes, sugar-plums, and 

women in Bahia, in ranambooo, and the Ukb. The decoifation of the trays 

in Rio de Janeiro in die cutting of is a true art of lacework in the mc- 

{>aper— blue, camarion-colored, yel- dium of paper, executed pfactically 

ow, etc— for the garnishing of their without a pattern. 

CopviiyikCJ 1 1 i UlCI lal 

Preface to the Second English-Language Edition xxv 

civilisation,^^ I recall having learned in a French book. And that is 
precisely what I remember best about Bahia: its courtesy and its 
cooking, two expressions of patriarchal civilization that today are to 
be met with there as in no other part of Brazil. It was Bahia that gave 
us some of our major statesmen and diplomats under the Empire; and 
similarly in no other region are the most savory dishes of the Brazilian 
cuisine prepared so ivell as in the old houses of Salvador and the 

Having given the courses that, on the suggestion of Professor Percy 
Âlvin Martin, had been entrusted to roe at Stanford University-one 
a course of lectures, the other a seminar, courses that brought me into 
contact with a group of young men and women students animated by 
a lively intellectual curiosity— I returned from California to New 
York by a route new to me: across Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, 
an entire region that, m its wildest stretches, reminds one who comes 
from northern Brazil of our own backlands or Sertão, bristling with 
mandacarás and xique-xiques.* Desert wastes in which the vegetation 
has the appearance of enormous botdenecks, of a crude and at times 
sioster green in color, thrust down into die arid sand. 

No sooner has one crossed the New Mexico state line, however, 
than one begins to lose the feeling of a Brazilian baddands pay sage, the 
place of which is now taken by the landscape of the old súve-holding 
South. This impresâon reaches a peak as the transcontinental express 
enters the canebrakes and swamps of Louisiana. Louisiana, Alalnuna, 
Mississippi, the Guolinas, Virginia— the so-called "deep South," a 
i^oa where a patriarchal economy created almost the same type of 
aristocrat and of Big House, almost the same type of sbve and of 
slave quarters, as in die north of Brazil and in certain pordons of our 
own south; the same taste for the settee, the rocking-chair, good 
cooking, women, horses, and gambling; a region that has suffered and 
preserved the scars (when they are not open and still bleeding 
wounds) of the same devastating regime of agrarian exploitation: fire 
and ax, the felling of the forests and the burning over of the land, the 
"parasidc husbandry of nature," as Monteiro Baena puts it with 

*Tlie ReooiMavD is a strip of land 

outside the city of Salvador (Bahia), 
bordering All Saints Bay. It is some 
sixty miles long and varies in breadth 
up to thirty miles. It was formerly the 
sett of tile undowning and slave-hold- 
inff rural aristocracy. (Translator.) 

^ The mandacaru is a variety of fig 
tree, this being the vemacolar name 

in Brazil for a species of Cereus in 

general. Euclides da Cunha {Os Ser- 
tões, 1 6th edition, p. 43) identifies it 
as the Cereus jarainacarú. The xique- 
xique, also spelled chique-chique, is 
identified by Cunha (ibid.) as the 
Cactus pemmanus; it would appear to 
be the Opmtía brasiltensis, or the 
Opimtía in generaL (Translator.) 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

reference to Brazil.'* Every student of the patriarchal regime and the 
economy of slave-holding Brazil ought to become acquainted with the 
"deep South." The same influences deriving from the technique of 
production and of labor— that is to say, the one-crop system and 
slavery— have combined here in this English-settled portion of North 
America, as in the Antilles and Jamaica, to produce social results 
similar to those that are to be observed in our country. At times, in- 
deed, they are so similar that the only variants to be found are in the 
accessoiy features: the di£Ferences of language, lace, and forms of 

I had the good fortune to make the greater part of this journey 
through the Southern states of the Union in the company of two 
fonner colleagues of Columbia University, Ruediger Bilden and 
Francis Butler Simkins. The former was specializing, with all the 
rigorous detachment of his Germanic cultural background, in the 
study of slavery in the Americas, particularly in Brazil. The latter was 
engaged in studying the effects of abolition in the Carolinas, a subject 
on which he has since written a most interesting book in collaboration 
with Robert Milliard Woody: South Carolina during Recanstructían 

(Chapel Hill, 1932). To these two friends, and especially to Ruediger 
Bilden, I am indebted for valuable suggestions in connection with the 
present work; and to these names I should add that of another col^ 
league, Ernest Weaver, the companion of my studies in anthropology 
in the course given by Professor Franz Boas. 

The scholarly figure of Professor Boas is the one that to this day 
makes the deepest impression upon me. I became acquainted with him 
when I first went to Columbia. I do not believe that any Russian 
student among the romantics of the nineteenth century was more in- 
tensely preoccupied with the destiny of Russia than was I with that of 
Brazil at the time that I knew Boas. It was as if everything was de- 
pendent upon me and those of my generation, upon the manner in 
which we succeeded in solving age-old questions." And of all the 
problems confronting Brazil there was none that gave me so much 
anxiety as that of misc^enation. Once upon a time, after three 
straight years of absence from my country, I caught sight of a group 
of Brazilian seamen— mulattoes and cafusos—crosáng Brookl3ni 

■* Antônio Ladislau Monteiro Baena: tion) (Rio de Janeiro, 1941). Scc cs- 

Ensaio chorogrâphico sobre a pro- pecially his paper: ''Apologia pro 

víncia do Pari (Chorograpbic Essay generaáone sua/* in which he hsâ 

on the Province of Pará) (Pará, 1839). some extremei) interesciiig things to 

^ Freyre has given an admirable say about Randolph Bourne as well as 

picture of his generation in his book Charles Péguy and IiniesC PsicbarL 

Região e tradição {Region and Tradi- ( rransiator.) 


Preface to the Second English-Language Edition xxvii 

Bridge. I no longer remember whether they were from São Paulo or 
from Aiinas, but I know that they impressed me as being the carica- 
toies of men, and there came to mind a phrase from a book on Bcazil 
written by an American travelen "the fearfully mongrel aspect of 
the popularion." That was tlie sort of thing to which miscegenation 
led. I ought to have had some one to tell me tlien what Roquette 
Pinto had told the Aiyanizers of the Brazilian Eugenics Congress in 
1929: diat these individuals whom I looked upon as repiesentarive (tf 
Brazil were not amply mulattoes or cafusos but sickly ones.* 

It was my studies in andiropology under the direcdon of Professor 
Boas that first revealed to me the Negro and the mulatto for what 
diey are— with die effects of environment or cultural experience 
separated from racial characterisrics. I learned to regard as fimda- 
mental the difference between race and culture, to discriminate be- 
tween the effects of purely genetic relationships and those resulting 
from social influences, the cultural heritage and the milieu. It is upon 
this criterion of the basic differentiation between race and culture 
that the entire plan of this essay rests, as well as upon the distinction 
to be made between racial and family heredity. 

However little inclined we may be to historical materialism, which 
is so often exaggerated in its generalizations -chiefly in works by 
sectarians and fanatics— we must admit the considerable influence, 
even though not always a preponderant one, exerted by the technique 
of economic production upon the structure of societies and upon the 
features of their moral physiognomies. It is an influence subject to the 
reaction of other influences, yet powerful as no other in its abilit}^ to 
make aristocracies or democracies out of societies and to determine 
tendencies toward polygamy or monogamy, toward stratification or 
mobility. Studies in eugenics and cacogenics are still in a state of flux, 
and much of what is scipposed to be the result of hereditaiy charac- 
teristics or tares ou^t rather to be ascribed to the persistence for gen- 
erations of economic and social condirions favorable or unfavorable 
to human development. It is Franz Boas who, admitting die possibili^ 

* Roquette Pinto, an anthropologist 
who died in 1954, Brazil's 
most distinguished sdentists. **Aiyuà' 
zatkm" has a specbl meaning in Bra- 
zil, with allusion to the absorption of 
the "inferior" races by the "superior" 
one (i.e., the white race), and the 
gradual shedding of the character- 
Kdcs (tf die hybrid type. This view 
is set foith by J. F. de Oliveira 

Vianna, among others, in his book. 
Populações meridionaes do Brasil (3rd 
edidoii» Sio Pbulo, 1933); see in par- 
dcular p. 154. Thefe k, however, a 
wide difference of opinion on the 
subject. See Donald Pierson: Negroes 
in Brazil (University of Chicago 
Press, 194Z), Chapter viii, "Racial Id- 
eologv and Radal Atdtodes.** (Tmi»- 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

that eugenics may be able to eliminate the undesirable elements of a 
society, reminds us that eugenic selection should concern itself with 
suppressing the conditions responsible for the creation of poverty- 
stricken proletarians, sickly and ill-nourished; and he further reminds 
us that so long as such conditions exist, the result can only be the 
creation of more proletarians of the same sort.^ 
In Brazil the rcdations between the white and colored races from 

7 Boas stresses die fact diat in those 
classes where the economic conditions 
of life are imfavorable, individuals 
evolve slowly and are low in stature 
in comparison with the wealthy 
classes. Among the poorer classes a 
low stature would appear to be heredi- 
tary, but capable none the less of modi- 
fication once the economic conditions 
are modiiied. Bodily proportions. Boas 
tells us, are in some cawis deteimmed 
by occupation and are seemingly 
handed down from father to son when 
the son follows the same occupation 
as the father.— Franz Boas: Anthropol- 
ogy and Modem Life (New York 
and London, 1929). See also the re- 
searches of H. P. Bouditch: "The 
Growth of Children," Eighth Annual 
Report of the State Bureau of Health 
of Massachusetts. In Russia, as a result 
of the famine of 1921—2, 8 fflHiIne doe 
not only to the bad organization of 
the first Soviet administrations but 
also to the blockade of the new Re- 
public by the capitalist governments, 
there was founa to be a consider- 
able decrease in the stature of the 
population.— I. Ivanovsky: "Physical 
Modifications of the Population of 
Russia under Famine,** American 
Journal of Physical Anthropologyy 
No. 4, 1923. On the other hand the 
studies of the North American popu- 
lation made by Hrdlièka show an in- 
crease of stature.— Ales Hrdliika: 
The Old Americans (Baltimore, 
1925). On the differences in stature 
and other physical and mental diar- 
scteristics between one social group 
and another, see the classic work of 
A. Niceforo: Les Classes pauvres 
(Paris, 1905); and among more recent 

studies, that of PiririmSofokm: SoM 
MabShy (New York, 1^7). As to 

the correlation between intelligence 
and social class, see the notable work 
by Professor L. M. Terman of Stan- 
ford University: Qenetic Studies of 
Gemus^ 1925-30. The interesting thing 
in connection with these differences 
—the exceptional case naturally being 
excluded— is to determine to what 
point they are hereditary or genedc 
and at what pomt they cease to be, 
becoming insttad the reflecdoo of a 
favorable or unfavorable succession of 
economic conditions— that is to say, a 
reflection of the social milieu and the 
diet of rich and poor. Or— looHdng at 
die problem from anoder point of 
view— we may ask: what are the pos- 
sibilities of qualities acquired and cul- 
tivated for generations becoming trans- 
missible by heredity? Dendy stresses 
the observation of Oliver Wendell 
Holmes to the effect that an intellec- 
tual and social aristocracy had been 
formed in New England through the 
repetition of the same influenees for 
generarioii after generatioiL— Ardiur 
Dendy: The Biological Foundatian of 
Society (London, 1924). On this point 
see also J. A. Detlefsen: Our Present 
Knowledge of Heredity (Philadel- 
phia, 1925); H. S, Jenniufls: Prome^ 
theus (New York, 1925); £M. Child: 
Physiological Foundations of Behav- 
ior (New York, 1924); A. J. Herrick: 
Neurological Foimdations of Animal 
Bebooior (New York, 1924); F. B. 
Davenport: Heredity in Relation to 
Eugemcs (New York, 1911); A. 
Myerson: The Inheritance of Menud 
Disorders (Baltimore, 1925). 

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Preface to the Second English-Language Editio7i xxix 

d)€ first half of the snteenth century were conditioned on the one 
hand by the system of economic production—monocultare and lati- 
fundia— and on the other hand by úit scarcity of wbkc women among 
the conquerors. Sugar-raising not only stifled the democratic in- 
dustries represented by the trade in brazilwood and hides; it sterilized 
the land for the forces of diversified farming and herding for a broad 
expanse around the plantations. It called for an enormous number of 
slaves. Gatde*-raising, meanwhile, with the possibilities it afforded for 
Ú democratic way of life, was relegated to the backlands. In the 
agrarian zone, along with a monoculture that absorbed other forms of 
production, there developed a semi-feudal society, with a minority of 
whites and light-skinned mulattoes dominating, patriardialty and 
polygamously, from their Big Houses of stone and mortar, not only 
the dbves that were bred so prolifically in the senzalas, but the share- 
croppers as well, the tenants or retainers, those who dwelt in the huts 
of mud and straw, vassals of the Big House in the strictest meaning of 
the wonL* 

Conquerors, in the military and technical sense, of the indigenous 
populations, the absolute rulos of the N^oes imported from Africa 
for the hard labor of the bagaceira^ die Europeans and their descend- 
ants meanwhile had to compromise with die Indians and the Africans 
in the matter of genetic and social relations. The scarcity of white 
women created zones of fraternization between conquerors and con- 
quered, between masters and slaves. While these relations between 
white men and colored women did not cease to be those of "superiors*' 
with "inferiors," and in the majority of cases those of disillusioned 
and sadistic gentlemen with passive slave girls, they were mitigated by 
the need that was felt by many colonists of founding a family under 
such circumstances and upon such a basis as this. A widely practiced 
miscegenation here tended to modify the enormous social distance 
that otherwise would have been preserved between Big House and 
tropical forest, between Big House and slave hut. What a latifundiary 
monoculture based upon slavery accomplished in the way of creating 
an aristocracy, by dividing Brazilian society into two extremes, of 

' On the felarion between building The w»rd in Bnzil comes to mean 

mtteriflb and the focmatioa of oris- the general life and atmo^here of the 

rocratic societies, see George Plek- sugar plantation. A famous modem 

hanov: Introduction à Vhistoire sociale novel by José Américo de Almeida is 

de la Russie (translation) (Paris, 1926). entitled A Bagaceira (Rio de Janeiro, 

* The bagaceira was the place where 1 92 8 ) ; this work is looked upon as the 

the baflasae, or refine or the sugar- beginning of the school of sodal fio- 

cane after the juice had been pressed tion of the 1930*8 and die pcesent day. 

horn it (**cane trash"), was stored. (Translator.) 

uopyiighiea inaiuiial 


The Masters and the Slaves 

gentry and slaves, with a thin and insignificant remnant of free men 
sandwiched in bcnvecn, was in good part offset by the social effects 
of miscegenation. The Indian woman and the "////wíT or Negro 
woman, in the beginning, and later the mulatto, the cabrocha,^'^ the 
quadroon, and the octoroon, becoming domestics, concubines, and 
even the lawful wives of their white masters, exerted a powerful in- 
fluence for social democracy in Brazil. A considerable portion of the 
big landed estates was divided among the mestizo sons, legitimate or 
illegitimate, procreated by these white fathers, and this tended to 
break up the feudal allotments and latifundia that were small king- 
doms in themselves. 

Bound up with a latifundiary monoculture were deep-rooted evils 
that for generations impaired the robustness and efficiency of the 
Brazilian population, whose mistable health, uncertain capacity for 
work, apathy, and disturbances of growth are so frequently attributed 
to miscegenation. Among other tnmgs, there was the poor supply of 
fresh food, subjecting the major part of the population to a deficient 
diet, marked by the overuse oÍF dried £sh and manihot flour (and later 
of jerked beef), or to an incomplete and dangerous one of foodstuffs 
imported under the worst condiidons of transport, such as those that 
preceded the steamboat and the employment in recent years of re- 
frigerator compartments on ships. The importance of the factor of 
hyponutrition, stressed by Armitage," McCollum and Simmonds,^ 
and of late by Escudero,^^ a chronic hunger that comes not so much 
from a diet reduced in quantity as from its defective quality, throws 
a new light on those problems vaguely referred to as due to ladal 

^^Name given to highly respected 
Negro women of Bahia who became 
'fiends," concubines, and **hoiise- 
wives" (dcwas de etaa) of their white 
masters. The name is derived from 
Forte de el Mina on the west coast of 
Africa, one of the places from which 
the Portugneae imported their slaves. 
The **námif* were light-skinned, with 
features that resembled those of a 
white person, and were looked upon 
as "excellent companions." They were 
probably the first Negro women to 
be legally married to Europeans. See 
Donald Pierson: Negroes m BrazU^ 
pp. 145-6. (Translator.) 

1^ A dark-skinned mestizo type. 

*-F. P. Armitage: Diet and Race 
(London and New York, 1922). 

ȣ. V. McCoUum and Nina Sim- 
monds: The Nev)er Knowledge of 
Nutrition: the Use of Foods for the 
Preservation of Vitality and Heakb 
(New York, 1929). 

Pedro Escudero: '^if^uenek dê 
lã aUmemacidn sobre la rasa/* Lã 
Prensa (Buenos Aires), March 27, 
1933. The articles of the Argentine 
professor are interesting, even though 
they add little that is original to the 
studies of North American and Emo- 
pean physiologists: Armitage, McCol- 
lum, Simmonds, Lusk, Benedict* Mo- 
Cay, NittL 

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Preface to the Second EiigUsh-Language Edition xxxi 

"decadeoce" or 'infenority" and, thank God, offers greater possibil- 
ities of a solution. Prominent among the effects of hyponutrition are: 
a decrease in stature, weight, and chest measurement; deformities of 
the bony structure; decalcification of the teeth; th3n:oid insufficiency, 
pituitary and gonadial, leading to premature old age, a generally im- 
poverished fertility, apathy, and, not infrequently, infecundity. It is 
precisely tiiese characteristics of sterility and an inferior physique 
that are commonly associated with the execrated blood-stream of the 
so called "inferior races.** Nor should we forget other influences that 
developed along with the patriarchal and slave-holding system of colo- 
nization: syphus, for example, which is responsible for so many of 
those "sickly mulattoes" of whom Roquette Pinto speaks and to 
whom Ruediger Bilden attributes a great importance in his study of 
die formation of Brazilian society. 

The formative patriarchal plúse of that society, in its virtues as 
well as in its shortcmnings, is to be explained less in terms of "race** 
and 'Veligicm'* than in tb»se of economics, cultural experience, and 
family organization; for the family here was the colonizing unit. This 
was an economy and a social organization that at times ran counter 
not only to Catholic sexual morality but to the Semite tendencies of 
the Portuguese adventurer toward trade and barter as well. 

Spengler stresses the point that a race does not migrate from one 
continent to another; for that it would be necessary to transport 
along with it the physical environment. In this connection he alludes 
to the results of the studies of Gould and Baxter and those of Boas, 
which show that individuals of varying origin brought together under 
the same conditions of physical environment tend to a certain uni- 
form development with regard to stature and even, perhaps, bodily 
structure and shape of the head.^^ The modifications, possibly due to 
environment, to be found in the descendants of immigrants— as in 
the case of the Sicilian and German Jews studied by Boas in the 
United States -would appear to be the result chiefly of what 
Wissler calls the influence of the biochemical content.^^ Indeed, the 
study of such modifications in a new climate or milieu is acquiring 
an ever greater importance. The rapid alterations that occur would 
seem to be due to the iodine that the environment contains, which 

Oswald Spengler: The Decline of grants," Senate Documents (Wasb» 

the West (translation). (New York, ington, 1910-11). 

1926, 1928), VoL nj). 119. "Qnk Wisder: Mm and GhAmv 

i^Fnnz Boas: "Changes in Bodily (New York, 1923). 
Foniis of Descendants of Inum- 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

acts upon the secretions of the thyroid gland. And diet is likewise 
of considerable importance in the differentiation of the physical and 
mental characteristics of the descendants of immigrants. 

Admitting the tendency of the physical environment, and espe- 
cially of the biochemical content, to re-create in its own image those 
individuals who come to it from various places, we still must not 
forget the action exerted in a contrary direction by the technical re- 
sources of the colonizers: their effect in imposing upon the environ- 
ment strange cultural forms and accessories such as would peimit the 
preservation of an exotic race or culture. 

The patriarchal system of colonization sec up by the Portuguese in 
Brazil and represented by the Big House was one of plastic compro- 
mise between the two tendencies. At the same time that it gave ex- 
pression to die Jmpecialist imposition of an advanced race upon a 
backward one, an imposition of European forms (already modified 
by colomzing experience in Asia and Africa) upon a tropical milieu, 
it meant a coming to terms with the new conditions of life and en- 
vironment. The plantation Big House that the colonizer began erect- 
ing in Brazil in the sixteenth century -thick walls of mud or of stone 
and lime, covered with straw or with tile, with a veranda in front 
and on the sides and with sloping roofs to give the maximum of pro- 
tection against the strong sun and tropical rains-was by no means a 
reproduction of Portuguese hoiises, but a new expression, corre- 
sponding to the new jAysical environment and to a surprising, un- 
looked-for phase of Portuguese imperialism: its agrarian and seden- 
tary activity in the tropics, its rural, slave-holding patriarchalian. 
From that moment the Portuguese, while still longing nostalgically 
for his native realm, a sentiment to which Capistrano de Abreu has 
given the name of '^transoceanism**— from that moment he was a 
Lnso-Brazilian, the founder of a new economic and social order, die 
creator of a new type of habitation. One has but to comjure the plan 
of a Brazilian B^ House of die sixteenth century wnb diat of a 
Lusitanian manor house (solar) of the fifteenth céntury in order to 
be able to perceive the enormous difference between die Portuguese 
of Portugal and the Po rti^uc se of Brazil After somediing lãte a 
century of patriarchal life and agrarian activity in the tropics, the 
Brazilians are pracdcally another race, expressing themselves in an- 
other type of dwelling. As Spengler observes -and for him the type 
of habitation has a historical-social value superior to that of race— 
the energy of the blood-stream that leaves identical traces down the 
centuries must necessarily be increased by the "mysterious cosmic 
force that binds together in a single rhythm those who dwell in close 

CopviiyikCJ 1 1 i UlCI lal 

Preface to the Second English-Language Edition xxxiii 

proximity to one another." This force in the formation of Brazilian 
life was exerted from above downward, emanating from the Big 
Houses that were the center of jpatriarchal and religious cohesioii, the 
points of support for the organized society of the naticm. 

The Big House completed by the slave shed represents an entire 
economic, social^ and political system: a system of production (a 
ladfundiary monoculture); a system of labor (slavery); a system of 
trsmqwrt (the ox-cart, the bangue^^ the hammock, the horse); a 
system of religion (a family Catholicism, with the chaplain subordi- 
nated to the paterfamilias, with a cult of the dead, etc.); a system of 
sexual and family life (polygamous patriarchalism); a system of 
bodily and household hygiene (the ''tiger," the banana stalk, the 
river bath, the tub bath, the âtting-bath, the foot bath) ; and a system 
of politics {compadrismo)?^ The Big House was thus at one and 
the same time a fortress, a bank, a cemetery, * hospital, a school, and 
a house of charity giving shelter to the aged, the widow, and the 
Ofphan. The Big House of the Noruega plantation in Pernambuco, 
with its many rooms, drawing-rooms, and corridors, its two convent 
kitchens, its dispensary, its chapel, and its annexes, impresses me as 
being the sincere and complete expression of the absorptive patri- 
archalism of colonial times. An eaq[>resâon of the gentle and subdued 
patriarchalism of the eightemth century, widiout the air of a fortress 
that characterized the first Big Houses of the sixteenth century. "On 
the plantations it was like being on a field of battle,*' writes Theodoro 
Sampaio, witli reference to mt first century of cokmiiEation. 'The 
rich were in the habit of protecting their dwellings and manor houses 
by a double and powerfiu row of sndces, in the manner of the natives, 
and liiese stockades were manned by domesdcs, retainers, and Indian 
slaves and served also as a refuge for the neighbois when they were 
unexpectedly attacked by savages."" 

The plantations at the end of the seventeenth century and those 
of the eighteenth century, on the other hand, more nearly resembled 

1® Oswald Spengler, op. cit. The 
significance of the dwelling-place had 
already been stressed by G. Schmol- 
kr, in the dassic pages that he has 
written on the aot^ect. 

In northeastern Brazil the bangitê 
was a variety of litter with leather top 
and curtains. (Translator.) 

•^The was a vcaad foe the 

dqpoaitiur and carrying away of lecal 
matter. (TramlaDor.) 

2^ "Compadrismo^* was a system of 
oligarchic nepotism and patronage; 
the author refers to it later in this 
chapter. Fram ccmpadni literally, a 
godfather or spoosor, a friend, etc. 


Theodoro Sampaio: "S. Paulo de 
Piratimnga no fi?n do século XVI" 
CS, Vmúo de Pintininga at the End 
of the Sixteenth century). Revista do 
histituto Histérico de SSo Pãuh, VoL 


Copyriyi iicu I : i ulCI lal 


The Masters and the Slaves 

a Portuguese convent -a huge estate with the functions of a hospital 
and a house of charity. The indescribable air of aloofness that char- 
acterized the houses at the beginning of the seventeenth century, with 
their verandas that appeared to have been erected on wooden stilts, 
was no longer to be met with in these end-of-the-century dwelHngs 
and those of the eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth cen- 
tury; the latter were houses that had been aknost wholly demilitarized 
and, accentuatedly rustic in appearance, offered to strangers an easy- 
gomg and expansive hospitality. Even on the cattle ranches of Bio 
Grande, Nicolão Dreys, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, 
encountered a custom reminiscent of medieval convents, that of ring- 
ing a bell at the dinner hour: "It serves to advise the traveler wander- 
ing over the countryside or the destitute of the vicinity that they may 
come to the lord of the manor's table which is now being spread; 
and, indeed, whoever cares to do so may and does sit down at that 
hospitable board. Never does the lord of the manor repel anyone 
or so much as ask him who he is. ..." 

It seems to me that Jose Marianno fUs is not entirely right in saying 
that our patriarchal architecture did no more than follow the model 
of rehgious architecture as developed here by the Jesuits,** those 
terrible enemies of the lords of the plantation. What the architecture 
of the Big Houses took from the monasteries was, rather, a certain 
Franciscan gentleness and simplicity, a fact that is to be explained 
by the identity of functions fulfilled by a plantation manor house 
and a t3rpical convent of Franciscan friars. There is no doubt (and 
I here mid myself in perfect agreement with José Marianno fils) 
that Jesuit and Church architecture was the highest and most cultured 
eiq>ression of its kind in colonial Brazil, and it certaiioly had its effect 
upon the Big House. The latter, however, following a rhythm of its 
own, its own patriarchal tendency, and conscious of a larger need 
than that of a purely ecclesiastical ad^»tation to environment, pro- 
ceeded to individualfice itself and came to take on so great an impor- 
tance that it ended by dominating the architecture of convent and 
church, breaking with the lofty Jesuit style and leveling the Spanish 
verticality, to make of it a gende, humble, and subservient expression 
in the form of the plantation chapel, a dependency of die domestic 
habitation. If the Big House took from the churches and monasteries 

^ Nicolao Dreys: Noticia Descrip- de SSo Pedro do Sul) (Rio de Jtodro, 

tiva da Província do Rio Grande de 1839), p. 174. 

São Pedro do Stil (Descriptive Ac- 2* José Alarianno fils: Lecture in 
count of the Province of Rio Grande the School of Fine Arts of Recife, 

April 1933. 

Copyrighted material 

Preface to the Second Englisb-Langmge Edition xxxv 

artbdc values and technical resomces, the churches fikewúe assimi- 
lated the characteristics of the manor house: the entryway, for 
example. Nothing is more interestmg than certain churdies in the 
interior of Brazil with a veranda in front or along the sides, like a 
private residence. I am acquainted widi a number of them, in Per- 
nambuco, in Paraíba, in SSo Paulo. Quite characterisdc is the Church 
of São Roque de Serinhaem, and still more so the ch^Ml of the 
Caieira plantation, in Sergipe, whose aspect at a distance is wholly 
residential. And in São Paulo there is the little Chapel of São Miguel, 
which also dates from colonial times. 

The Big House in Brazil, in the impulse that it manifested from 
the very start to be the mistress of the land, overcame the church. 
It overcame the Jesuit as well, leaving the lord of the manor as almost 
the sole dominating figure in the colony, the true lord of Brazil, or 
nearer to being than either the viceroys or the bishops. 

For power came to be concentrated in the hands of these country 
squires. They were the lords of the earth and of men. The lords of 
women, also. Their houses were the expression of an enormous feudal 
might. "Ugly and strong." Thick walls. Deep foundations, anointed 
with whale oil. There is a legend in the northeast to the effect that 
a certain plantation-owner, more anxious than usual to assure the 
perpetuity of his dwelling, was not content until he had had a couple 
of slaves killed and buried beneath the foundation stones. The sweat 
and at times the blood of Negroes was the oil, rather than that of the 
whale, that helped to give the Big House foundations their fortress- 
like consistency. 

The ironical part of it is, however, that owing to a failure of the 
human potential all this arrogant solidity of form and material was 
very frequently wasted, and in the third or fourth generation enor- 
mous houses built to last for centuries would begin crumbling from 
disuse or lack of proper care, the great-grandsons or even the grand- 
sons being unable to preserve the ancestral heritage. In Pernambuco 
the ruins of the big country house of the barons of Mercês are still 
to be seen, and it is evident that even the stables were built like for- 
tresses. But all this pomp has long since turned to dust, and when all 
is said, it was the churches that survived the Big Houses. At Massang- 
ana, the plantation where Nabuco ^ spent his D03rhood, the old manor 
house has disappeared and the senzala also has crumbled; only tbe 
ancient and dinunutive Chapel of ^o Mateus remains standii^, with 
its saints and its catacombs. 

^ Joaquim Nabuco was a famous aboiitioiiist leader and intellectual of the 
later nineteenth century. (Translator.) 

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xxxn The Masters and the Slaves 

The custom of burying the dead underneath the house -beneath 
the chapel, which was an annex of the house— is quite characteristic 
of the patriarchal spirit of family cohesiveness. The dead thus re- 
mained under the same roof as the living, amid the saints and the floral 
offerings of the devout. The saints and the dead were, indeed, a part 
of the family. In Portuguese and Brazilian cradle songs mothers never 
hesitated to make of their infant sons the younger brothers of Jesus, 
with the same rights to Mary's care, to the guardianship of Joseph, 
and the doting ministrations of St. Anne. St. Joseph was the one who 
was called upon with the least ceremony to rock the cradle or ham- 
mock of the child: 

Rock, Joseph, rocky 
For the Lady, she is out: 
She^s gone to Belem creek. 
To ivash the baby^s clout ?^ 

As for St. Anne, she was supposed to take the little ones on her 
lap and cuddle them: 

come tend 
My Utde dmgbur here; 
Just see how pretty she is 
And what a ikde dear. 

This Utde gjhtl of wSne 
Does not sleep in a bed; 
She sleeps in the blessed lap 
Of the good Sl Anne instead." 

So much liberty was taken with the saints that to them was ea- 
trusted the task of protecting the jars of preserves against the ants: 

Praise St. Benedict, Yts a sin 
That ants should come here 
To enter inJ^ 

Such the inscription that was posted cm the pantry door. Another 
was pot up on the windows and house doors: 

JesuSf Mary, Joseph, 

Fray for ftf, do^ vfbo have recourse to you,'* 

^Embala, José, embala^ Esta menina 

qOB ã Settbora logo vem: nfo dorme fiã cama, 

fm lavar seu cuetrinbo domie no regaço 

no riacho de Belem. do Senhora Sanf Am. 

27 Senhora Sant' Ana, 38 £7^2 louvor de S. Bento 
tÊbãd miaba filha; que não venham et formigat 

vede qae lindeza cá dentro, 

e qÊt marmdlba, 29 Jesús, Maria, José, 

rogai por nós que recorremos a vóS, 


Preface to the Second English-Language Edition xxxvii 

Whenever a thimbk, a coin, or object of value was lost, it was St. 
Anthony who had to account for it. In Brazilian patriarchal society, 
even more than in Portugal, there never ceased to be this perfect 
intimacy with the saints. About the only thing the Infant Jesus did 
not do was to get down on all fours with the children of the house- 
hold, smear himself with guava jelly, and play with the Negro lads. 
The Portagoese nnns in dieir ecstasies would often feel him seated 
on their laps and playing with their sewing or tasting the sweets that 
ÚMSf were preparing.** 

Beneath the saints and above the living in die patriarchal hierarchy 
were the dead, who in so far as possible ruled and kept watch over 
the lives of thdr children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. In 
many a Big House their portraits were preserved in the sanctuary 
amonff the images of the samts, widi a right to the same votive lamp 
and me same flowers. Sometimes also women's braids and the curls 
of infants were kept. It was, in short; a cult of the dead that puts 
one in mind of that of the ancient Greeks and Romans. 

But the patriarchal Big House was not only a fortress, chapel, 
school, workshop, house of charity, harem, convent of young 
women, and hospital; it fulfilled another important function in Bra- 
zilian economy: it was also a bank. Within its thick walls, in the 
ground beneath the bricks or tiles, money was buried and jewels, 
gold, and other valuable objects were stored. The jewels were some- 
times kept in the chapel, being used to adorn the saints; whence all 
the images of Our Lady, laden down in the Bahian manner with 
trinkets of all sorts, with balangandans^^ hearts, little horses, little 
dogs, gold chains, and the lilie. Thieves in those days were God- 
fearing and rarely ventured to enter the chapel and rob the sacred 
images. True, a certain thief did steal the halo and other jewels of 

^ The infant Jesus used to come to 
aid Sister Mariana de Beija in "wind- 
ing her wool and thread" as she 
aewed, and the same thing happened 
to the Venerable Mother Rosa Maria 
de Sto. St. Anthony would put in an 
app>earance to play with the spinning- 
wneel, etc— Gustavo de Matos Se- 
qoeiia: Relação de Vários Casos 
Notáveis e Curiosos Sucedidos eui 
Tempo na Cidade de Lisboa^ etc 
{Account of Varioi4s Notable and 
Curious Happenings in the City of 
Lisbon, eta) (Gbliãura, 1925). 

*^ Donald FSersoa {Negroes in Bra- 

ssil, p. 246) says: "The balangandan 
. . . consisted of a gold or silver 
frame oa which wm hung gold or 
silver images of anhnala^ birds, fowls, 
fish, flowers, parts of the hmnan body, 
houses, household utensils, amulets 
(including gold or silver balls inclos- 
ing soil from a cemetery), bells, me- 
daUioiiB widi xdigkms «gnificaince, 
angels, sm», moons^ etc. It was worn 
on festive occasions, tied at the waút. 
. . . A limited number may still be 
seen among the heirlooms of wealthy 
Bahians.** (Translator.) 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

São Benedito, but his excuse, one that carried weic^hr in those days, 
was that "a Negro ought not to be adorned so luxuriously"; and in- 
deed, in colonial times, the use of "ornaments of a certain price" 
came to be forbidden to blacks.^* 

For safety's sake and as a precaution against pirates, against dema- 
gogic excesses, and against the communistic tendencies of the natives 
and the Africans, the proprietors of the big landed estates in their 
excessive zeal for private property would bury beneath their houses 
jewels and gold just as they did their beloved dead. These two mo- 
tives were always uncaniuly mingled in the folklore of the Big 
Houses: with empty rocking-chairs rocking away on loosened tiles 
and leaving no trace on the morrow; with dishes clattering in the 
cupboard at night; and with the souls of departed lords of the manor 
appearing to relatives and even to strangers, begging Our Father's and 
Hail Mary's as they moaned and groaned and pointed out the places 
where barrels of money were to be found. This at times was die 
money of others, of which the owners of the house had illegally pos- 
sessed themselves, money that friends, widows, and somedmes slaves 
had entrusted to them for safekeeping. Many of these poor folk were 
shorn of all they had and ended in utter poverty, owing to the sharp 
dealing or sudden death of the one with whom they had deposited 
their treasure. There were certain unscrupulous gentry who, accept- 
ing valuable objects in this manner, later pretended to be strangers 
who knew nothing whatever about the transaction: "Are you crazy? 
You miean to sa) )'ou gave me something to keep for you?"** Often 
money that had been buried disappeared mysteriously. Joaquim Na- 
buco, who had been reared by his godmother in the Big House of 
Massangana, died without ever knowing what became of the store 
of gold which the good lady had scraped together for him and which 
was probably buried in some hole in the wall. When Nabuco was 
Brazilian Minister in London, an old priest told him of the treasure 
that Dono Ana Rosa had saved for him, but not a pound of it was 
ever discovered. In various instances, in Bahia, Olinda, and Pernam- 
buco, in the course of the work of demolition or excavation, kegs of 
money have been found beneath the houses. This happened in tlie 

32 Letters royal of September 3, Historical-Social Essay) (Rio de ja- 

1709, and proclamation of 1740, in neiro, t866). 

Maranhão, dted by Agostinho Mar- ^J. da Silva Campos: "Tradições 
qucs Per àigíoMaXaiúro: A Escravidão baianas" ("Bahian Traditions"), Re- 
vo Brasil, Ensaio jurtdico-historico- vista do hutituto Geograpbico e HiS' 
social {Slavery in Brazil, a Juridical- tórico da Baia, No. 56. 

Copyrighted material 

Preface to the Second English-Language Edition xxxix 

case of the Pires d'Avila, or Pires de Carvalho, manor in Bahia, where 
in a comer of the wall there was found "a veritable fortune in gold 
coins." In other cases ail that has been dug up is the bones of slaves, 
executed by their masters and buried in the garden or inside the house 
without the authorities knowing anythipg about it. It is related that 
the Viscount of Suassuna on h^ estate at Pombal had caused to be 
buried in the garden more than one Negro, victim of his patriarchal 
jusdce. There is nothing surprising in this, for there were those who 
even had their own sons put to death. One of these patriarchs, Pedro 
Vieira, by that time a grandfather, upon discovering that his son was 
having relations with a favorite slave girl, had him slain by an older 
brother. 'It was diat God's will might be done that I had my son 
killed," he wrote to the father coadjutor of Canavieira after the ter- 
rible order had been carried out.** 

The friars, also, fulfilled the function of bankers in colonial times. 
Much money was given to thcni to keep in their monasteries,^'^ which 
were as strong and inaccessible as fortresses. Whence the legends, so 
common in Brazil, of convent cellars with money still buried there. 
It was chieflv the Big Houses, however, that served as banks in the 
colonial economy; and it was almost always the suffering souls of 
plantation-owners that would appear beseeching Our Fathers and 
Hail Mary's. 

The Big House ghosts are in the habit of making their presence 
known by apparitions and noises that arc practically the same 
throughout Brazil. A short while before the manor of iMegaipe was 
stupidly demolished by dynamite, I had occasion to collect from the 
residents of the vicinity ijhost stories connected with the old seven- 
tcenth-ccntury dwelling. These tales had to do with the clatter of 
dishes heard in the dining-room; the sound of merry laughter and 
dance steps from the drawing-room; the rattling of swords; the swish 
and rustle of feminine silk; lights that were suddenly kindled and 
extinguished all over the house; moans and the clank of dragging 
chains; the weeping of a child; and apparitions of the grow-and- 
shrink variety. Similar ghosts, so I was informed in Rio de Janeiro 
and in São Paulo, inhabit the ruins of the Big Houses in the valley of 

^'Tristão de Alencar Araripe: "José Vieira Fazenda: "Antiguã' 

^l\TtL'r~fã7?íiliiis no Brasil dos tempos lhas e memorias do Rio dc Janeira** 

coloniais'^ ("The Paterfamilias in Co- ("Antiquities and Reminiscences of 

loniai Brazil"), Revista do Instituto Rio de Janeiro"), Revista do Instituto 

Hittáríco e Geograpbico BratUeirOy Histárico e Geográpbico BnuikirOf 

VÓL LV. tomo 95, Vol CXUX. 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

the Paraiba.-^^ And in Recife I learned from one old inhabitant that 
every night at midnight there issues forth from the chapel of the 
Big House that formerly belonged to Bento José da Costa a very 
pretty young woman clad in white who customarily goes mounted 
on a donkey like Our Lady. This is possibly the daughter of old 
Bento, fleeing the patriarchal tyranny of a father who had forbidden 
her to marry Domingos Jose Martins. For these ghosts commonly 
embody all the joys, sorrows, and most characteristic actions of the 
life of the manor houses. 

In contrast to the adventurous nomad life of the bandeirantes^^ 
-the majority of whom were mestizos, part white and part Indian— 
the Big House gentry represented, in the formation of Brazilian soci- 
ety, the most typical of Portuguese tendencies: namely, settledness, 
in the sense of a patriarchal stability. A stability based upon sugar 
(the plantation) and the N^ro (the slave hut). Not that I am here 
suggesting an ethnic interpretation in place of the economic. I would 
merely set alongside the purely matenal or Marxist aspect of things 
or, bmer, tendencies the psydiologic aspect. Or the psycho-physio- 
logic. The studies of Gumon** on the one hand, and on the other 
those of Keith,"* would seem to indicate that, independent^ of the 
economic pressure, societies like individuals are acted upon by psy- 
cho-physiologic forces presumably susceptible to control for the 
benefit of future scientifically formed élites— the forces of pain, fear. 

3'' Also in Minas. On the abandoned 
estate of Samangolê, in the municipal- 
ity of Puracttu, tfacfe was midl re- 
cently a ghostly ball that was held on 
Sr. John's Nighr, attended by peo- 
ple from all over the countr\'side, who 
came in carriages and litters, escorted 
by pages, etc. The Ofc h e i tra s played 
the uraole night loi^ but at dawn 
there would be no trace of it alL Of 
late these apparitions have ceased. 

•^The bandeirantes were members 
<^ the bandeiras or armed bands of 
the SSo Paulo ^^goa. that in the eight- 
eendi century, ukc our own 'Yorty- 
niners" the century following, went 
in search of the gold, silver, diamonds, 
emeralds, and other hidden wealth 
of the interior, whidi liad become the 
subject of legend and fable. (They 
also sought the Indian to sell as a 
slave.) The bandeirantes were bold, 
adventurous spirits and by their en- 

ergy and intrepidity did much to 
open up the pathways to the back- 
lands, tnerel^ contributing to the ex- 
pand ing national consciousness and 
pride. For a colorful work on this 
subject, the reader of Portuguese may 
be referred to the volume by the art- 
ist Bebnoote: No Tempo dos Bander- 
rentes (Sio Pknlo, 1939). For com- 
paratively recent and learned studies, 
see Vida e Morte do Bandeirante ^ by 
Professor Alcantara Machado (São 
Paulo, 1930); and História Geral das 
Bendemtt PauUstas, by Ptttfessor Af- 
fonso d'E. Taunay. (Translator.) 

38 Walter B. Cannon: Bodily 
Changes in Vain, Hunger, Fear and 
Rage (New York and London, 1929). 

>*Ardrar Keidi: *X>n Certain Fac- 
tors Concerned in the Evolution of 
Human Races," Journal of the Royal 
Anthropoloffcal Institme, London, 
Vol. XLVL 

Copyrighted material 

Preface to the Second English-Language Edition xli 

angCTi alongside the emotioiis of hunger, thiist, and sex-forces that 
are possessed of a great intensity of repercussion. Thus Islamism, in 
its imperialist fuiy and in its formidable achievements, in its ni3^stic 
exaltation of the sensoal pleasures, would be the expression not simply 
of economic motives, bat of psychological forces that have developed 
in a special manner among the popubtions of North Africa. And the 
same may be said of the activity of the bandekaSy with the generalized 
emotions of fear and ai^;er asserted through reactions marked by a 
high degree of combadveness. The purer type of Portogaese, wo 
came to settle as lord of the plantation, bong dependent upon tlie 
Negro rather than upon the Indian, represent, it may be, in his 
tendency toward stability a psychologic specialization in contrast to 
the tendency manifested by the Indian and the mestizo (mixture of 
Indian with Portuguese) toward mobility. This is not to overlook 
the fact that in Pernambuco and in the Recôncavo the soil is excep- 
tionally favorable to the intensive cultivation of sugar as well as to 
an agrarian, patriarchal, and stable existence. 

The truth of the matter is that around the plantation-owners was . 
created the most stable type of civilization to be found in Hispanic 
America, a type that is illustrated by the squat, horizontal architecture 
of the Big Houses: enormous kitchens; vast dining-rooms; numerous 
rooms for the sons and guests; a chapel; annexes for the accommoda- 
tion of married sons; small chambers in the center for the all but 
monastic seclusion of unmarried daughters; a gynseceum; an entry- 
way; a slave hut. The style of these Big Houses— style in the Spen- 
glerian sense— might be a borrowed one, but its architecture was 
honest and authentic. Brazilian as a jungle plant. It had a soul. It was 
a sincere expression of the needs, interests, and the broad rhythm of 
a patriarchal life rendered possible by the income from sugar and 
the efficient labor of Negro slaves. 

This honesty, this expansiveness without luxurious display, was 
sensed by various foreign travelers, from Dampier to Maria Graham, 
who visited colonial Brazil Maria Graham was enchanted with the 
residences in the vicinity of Recife and with the plantation houses 
in the province of Rio de Janeiro. The only bad impressioii that úít 
got was due to the ezcesshre number of bird and parrot cages hung 
up everywhere. But these parrot cages merely served to confer upon 
family life a bit of what today would be called local color. As for 
the parrots themselves, they were so well trained, Mrs. Graham adds^ 
tliat they rardy screamed at the sanie ame.^ So far as that goes, d'As> 

^ Maria Graham: Journal of a Voyage to Brazil and Residence There during 
ibe Terns tS^tf t8:t», iBã$ (London, 1814), p. 127. 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

sier notes a still more significant instance: that of monkeys receiving 
the benediction from Negro lads, just as the lads received it from the 
aged blacks, who in turn were blessed by their white masters.^^ The 
hierarchy of the Big Houses was extended even to parrots and 


The Big House, although associated particularly with the sugar 
plantation and the patriarchal life of the northeast, is not to be looked 
upon as exclusively the result of sugar-raising, but rather as the effect 
of a slave-holding and latifundiary monoculture in general. In the 
south it was created by coffee, in the north by sugar; and it is as 
Brazilian in the one case as in the other. In traveling through the old 
coffee-plantation zone of the Rio Grande and São Paulo region, one 
sees the ruins of former mansions with the land round about bleeding 
still from the wounds of the ax and the processes of latifundiary 
labor, and one realizes that they are the expression of the same eco- 
nomic impulse that in Pernambuco created the Big Houses of Megaipe^ 
of Anjos, of Noruega, of Monjope, of Gaipio, of Morenos, laying 
waste a considerable part of the region known as "mata,** or jungle 
forest. It is true that certain variations are to be noted, some of them 
due to a difference in climate, others to psychological contrasts, and 
to the fact that, in São Paulo at least, a latifundiary monocoltnre was 
a regime imposed at the end of the eighteenth century upon a system 
of small ownership.** In passing we should not overlook the fact that 
"while the inhabitants of the north sought out for their habitations 

Adolphe d'Assier: Le Brésil can^ 

tc77iporain — Races — Moeurs — institu- 
tions— Faysages (Paris, 1867), p. 89. 

<2 Alfredo Ellis, Jr., in Raça de 
Gigantes (Race of Giants), basing his 
statements Upon the old Inventories 
and Allntincnt<; of colonial days, as- 
serts that down to the end of the 
eighteenth century a small-property 
regime was ^ dominant one in São 
Paolo, the dwelling-houses beii^ no 
more than stucco-walled structures, 
originally covered with sapé. "They 
ordinarily had three rooms with a 
garden and were very badly fur- 
nished. . . .** They were, however, 
very large, with enormous dining- 
rooms, and already had a "house for 
Negroes," or scwZi jla. In the seven- 
teenth-century house of Francisco 
Mariano da Ounha the same writer 

found sixteen rooms of huge dimen- 
sions and a dining-room 13 meters 
54 [about 43 feet by 18]. Oliv- 
eira Vianna, in his Fopulações Meri- 
dionais do BrasU {Southern Fopukh 
tíons of Brazil), stresses the contiasc 
between the São Paulo plantations 
prior to the century (the nineteenth) 
in which coffee was introduced— "di- 
minutive estates measured in cubits» 
the majority of them being a lei^ue in 
circumference"— and "the estates of 
Alinas and the Rio Grande region, 
which are latifundia of 10,000 alquiers 
or more." But the real latifundia were 
those of Pemamboco and Bahia, ol 
the type of the Garcia d*AviU pbnta,- 

[The alquicr (alqueire) is a land 
measure varying in extent from 24.2 
to 48.4 square meters. (Translator.)] 

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Preface to the Second English-Language Edition xliii 

elevated sites, on the mountain slopes, the Paulistas commonly pre- 
ferred the lowlands, the depressions of the earth, as the place to ereçt 
their dwellings. These latter houses were "always built on a 

steeply inclined slope as a protection against the south wind, in such 
a manner that on die lower side the house had a ground floor that 
gave it the appearance of a two-story edifice." The soudiem man- 
sions have more of a dosed-in, aloof air than do the houses of the ' 
north; but the "terrace from which the planter with his gaze could 
take in the entire organism of rural life" is the same as in the north, 
a terrace that is pleasing, hospitable, and patriarchal in character. 
Coming down the river from Santos to Rio in a small steamer that 
puts in at all the ports along the way, one has a glimpse at the water's 
edge— in Ubatuba, São Sebastuo, Angra dos Reis-of town houses 
that recall the patriarchal dwellings of Rio Formoso. And at times, 
as in the north, one encounters churches with a porch in front— 
gently inviting and typically Brazilian. 

The social history of the Big House is the intimate history of prac- 
tically every Brazilian: the history of his domestic and conjugal life 
under a slave-holding and polygamous patriarchal regime; the history 
of his life as a child; rhc histor^^ of his Christianity, reduced to the 
form of a family religion and influenced by the superstitions of the 
slave hut. The study of the intimate history of a people has in it 
something of Proustian introspection— the Goncourts had a name for 
it: **^ce rovtan vrai" The architect Lúcio Costa has given us his im- 
pression in the presence of the old mansions of Sahara, São João d'El- 
Rei, Ouro Preto, and Mariana, the old Big Houses of Minas: "ÍTow 
one meets oneself here. . . . And one remembers things one never 
knew but which were there inside one all the while; 1 do not know 
how to put it-it would take a Proust to explain it." 

It is in the Big Houses that, down to this day, the Brazilian char- 
acter has found its best expression, the expression of our social con- 
tinuity. In the study of their intimate history, all that political and 
military history has to offer in the way of striking events holds little 
meaning in comparison with a mode of life that is almost routine; 
but it is in that routine that the character of a people is most readily 
to be discerned. In studying the domestic life of our ancestors we 
feel that we are completing ourselves: it is another method of search- 

^•^ João Vampré: "Fatos e festas na Lúcio Costa: "O Aleijadinho e a 

tradição" ("Facts and Festivais as Arqiutetura Tradicional^ ("Aleija- 

Handed Down bjrTffBditbn'*)» in lhe dinho and Traditional Architec- 

Revista do Instituto Histárico de SSo tnie"), O Jormd, Rio de Janeiro» 

PmOo, Vol XnL special Minas Geraes edition. 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

ing for the ^''teirips perdu^ another means of finding ourselves in 
others, in those who livxd before us and whose life anticipates out 
own. The past awakens many strings and has a bearing on the life ot 
each and every one of us; and the study of this past is more than mere 
research and a rummaging in the archives: it is an adventure in sensi- 

This becomes clear when we succeed in penetrating the past's inti- 
mate secrets, in discovering its true tendencies in its homely, un- 
affected aspects and most sincere forms of expression. All of which 
is not an easy thing in a country like Brazil, where the confessional 
absorbs personal and family secrets and provides an outlet for that 
passion for self-revelation on the part of men, and especially of 
women, which the student of history meets with in Protestant ooun- 
tiies in all the intimate diaries, confessions, letters, memoirs, auto- 
biographies, and autobiographical novels that are at his disposal I do 
not believe that in Brazil there has ever been a single diary written 
by a woman. Our grandmothers, so many of them illiterate even 
vmen they happened to be baronesses and viscountesses, were content 
to tell their secrets to their father confessor or to their favorite slave 
girl, and their propensities to gossip were almost wholly satisfied by 
conversations with their black-skinned maids on rainy afternoons or 
in the depressing heat of scorching noontides. In vain would one lode 
for the gossip-filled diary of a mistress of the house of the sort to be 
encountered among die British and North Americans of colonial 

There do exist ^Hivros de as- 
sentos" or memoranda books kept 
b^ plantation-owneis. Thanks to toe 
Infinncw of an aged relative of mine. 
Dona Maria (laiá) Cavalcanti de Al- 
buquerque Mello, I was permitted to 
inspect the "book of special memo- 
randa" chat was begun in Olinda on 
Mardti i, 1843 by her father, Felix 
Cavalcanti de Albuquerque MeUo 
(1821-1901), containing not only 
matters of interest to the family of 
Francisco Casado de Hollanda Caval- 
canti de Albuquerque (1776-1832), 
former owner of the Jnndtá planta- 
tion, which was sold in 1831, and to 
the families of his sons and sons-in- 
law, but items of general interest as 
well— a cholera epidemic, a riot 

against the Portuguese, the hecatomb 
of Vitória, etc 

[Selections from the "Uvro dê 
assento** in question have since been 
edited hy Freyre under the tMe 
Me?nórias de ttm Cavalcanti (São 
Paulo, 1940). The anti-Portuguese 
riot, or '''^viata-mata-marinheiroy^ re- 
ferred to occurred on June 26-7, 1847, 
when Brazilians rose up against the 
Portuguese merchants and traders of 
the ciVf of Recife, with much con- 
sequent bloodshed. The Brazilians or 
liberal^ ob|ected to tiie hat diat 
retail trade was being monopolmd 
by the Portt^ese. Trie term mata- 
mata-marinheiro comes from the cry 
used by the Brazilians in the course of 
the rioting, marinheiro (literally, a 

Copyrighted material 

Preface to the Second English-Language Edition xlv 

On the other hand, the Inquisition kept its enormous and watchful 
eye trained upon the intimate Hfe of the colonial era, upon the bed- 
rooms and the beds (usually, it would appear, made of leather) that 
creaked beneath the weight of adulteries and forbidden intercourse; 
upon the small chambers and the rooms occupied by the saints; upon 
the relations of the white masters with their slaves. The confessions 
and denunciations resulting from the visitation of the Holy Office to 
Brazil afford precious material for the study of Brazilian sexual and 
family life in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They show 
us, among other things: the age at which young girls married— from 
twelve to fourteen; the principal pastime of the colonists— the game 
of backgammon; and the dramatic pomp of the religious processions 
-with men clad as Christ and other figures of the Passion and with 
the devout carr3nng sweetmeat boxes from which to feed the peni- 
tents. They enable us to behold the heresies of the new-Christians 
and the "Holiness" sects, their mingling of Christianity and witch- 
craft; their roguish festivals inside the churches, with merrymakers 
seated on the altars singing trovas and playing the guitar; and along 
with all this, irregularities in the domestic and moral life of the 
Christian family: married men marrying a second time with mulatto 
women; others sinning against nature with effeminates of the country 
or from Guinea; still others committing with women the lewd act 
that in modern scientific language as well as in the classics is known 
as fehtiOf and which the denunciations describe in minute detail; 
foul-mouthed individuals swearing by the "Virgin's muff"; " moth- 
ers-in-law planning to poison their sons-in-law; new-Christians plac- 

sailor) being roughly equivalent to 
gringo — "kiil-kiU-thc-gringo." — "The 
hecatomb of Vitória" is an alltisioa 
to the heavy toll of life taken hy die 
cholera epidemic in that city. (Trans- 

Primeira Visitação do Santo Of't- 
cio as tones do BrasU, pelo licenciado 
Heitor Furtado de Mendonça— Con- 
fissões da Bata—i$çi-<f2 (First Visi- 
tation of the Holy Office to the 
Regions of Brazil, by the Licentiate 
Heitor Furtado de Mendonça^Con- 
fesíhns cf BahiOf etc.) (São Paulo, 
1922). Primeira Visitação do SontO 
Ofício as Partes do Brasil, etc.— De- 
nunciações da fíti/a— 1591-1593 (First 
Visitation, Qtc— Denunciations of 

Bahia) (São Paulo, 1925). PrÍ7?ieira 
Visitação do Santo Ofício as Partes 
do Brasil, ttc—Denunciaçôes de 
Pemoffibuco (First Visitation, etc— 
Denunciations of Pernainbuco) (São 
Paulo, 1929). These documents form 
a part of the Eduardo Prado series, 
publislied by Paulo Prado; the fint 
two volumes bear introductioiis by 
Capistrano de Abreu; the third has an 
introduction by Rodolfo Garcia. 

•*^The trova is a poetic form that 
stems from the love sones of the 
medieval troubadours of the Iberian 
Pentnsnla. (Translator.) 

*^''Pelo *pentelho da Virgem:" 
The pubic hair. (Translator.) 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

\ng cnicifixcs bene;ith the bodies of women at the moment of copula- 
tion or tossing them into nrinals; lords of the manor having pregnant 
slave girls burned aHve in the plantation ovens, the unborn oifspring 
cracklmg in the heat of the flames. 

There were also— this was in the eighteenth and nineteenth cen- 
turies-certain dandies, shabby versions of Mr. Pcpys, who had the 
habit of methodically collecting in notebooks bits of spicy gossip 
and who were known as "gatherers of facts." Manuel Querino men- 
tions them in connection with Bahia; Arrojado Lisboa, in a conversa- 
tion that I had with him, told me of some of them having to do with 
Minas; *^ and in Pernambuco, in the old rural region, I have met with 
traces of them. Some of these "gatherers of facts" anticipated tha 
authors of the pasquinades by collecting shameful incidents that, at 
the opportune moment, might serve to cast a bloc upon respectable 
names or escutcheons. As a rule they exploited cases where the pos^ 
session of white and noble blood was assumed, by digging up some 
remote female ancestor who had been a slave or a "?mna" some uncle 
who had served a prison sentence, some grandfather who had fled 
the Inquisition. The moral and sexual irregularities of ancestors were 
all duly chronicled, including those of the ladies. 

There are other documents that are of assistance to the student of 
the intimate history of the Brazilian family: inventories, such as 
those that the former President of Brazil, Washington Luis, caused 
to be published in São Paulo; letters of allotment; wills; court cor- 

had the good fortnne to ccune 
upon diese notebooks in the course 
of a recent journey to Minas. Some 
were found in Caeté, others in Belo 
Horizonte, in the hands of a private 
individual who kind!}- permitted mc 
to read them. They represent llie 
parienc and, everythinL,' would indi- 
cate, the scrupulous labors, not of a 
mere talebearer, but of an old munici- 
pal archivist who died years ago: Luis 
Pintou Pinto spent his life rummaging 
among the archives, the legal docu- 
ments, marriage and birth records, 
wills, etc., in the genealogical collec- 
tions of some of the most important 
Afinas families. By means of these 
data I had the pleasure of vwifyinff 
some of the generalizations that 1 had 
ventured to set forth in the first edi- 
tion of this work regarding the for- 

mation of tlie ianuiy in diose regions 
of BrazQ wh»e there was the greatest 

scarcity of white women. Thus, Ja- 
cintha de Siqueira, "the celebrated 
African woman who at the end of 
the seventeenth or beginninjg; of the 
e^[hteenth century came with various 
handeirantes from Bahia," and "to 
\\ hf)m is due the credit for the dis- 
covery of gold in the Quarro Vinténs 
ravine and the founding of the settle- 
ment at Villa Nova So Principe in 
1 714,*' is seen to be identified with the 
matriarchal trunk, so to speak, of a 
whole group of illustrious families in 
our country. "The fathers of all the 
sons of Jadntha de Siqueira,*' adds 
the genealogist, *Svere rich and im- 
portant individuals, and many of them 
were prominent in the government. 
. . Among others there was a major- 

Copyiiytited material 

Preface to the Second English-Language Edition xlvii 

lespondence and royal decrees such as those that eidst in manuscript 
form in the Library of the State of Pernambuco or are scattered about 
in old registry offices and family archives; the pastoral letters and 
reports of the bishops, such as that most interesting one by Friar Luis 
de Santa Thereza which, written in Latin and copied out in a fine 
ecclesiastical hand, ties yellowing in the archives of the Cathedral oi 
Olinda; the proceedings of the tertiary orders, confraternities, and 
retigious houses as preserved in the archives of the Tertiary Order of 
St. Francis in Recife, where they are inaccessible and useless (they 
have reference to the eighteenth century) ; the Interesting Documents 
far the History and Customs of São Pmlo,^ of which Affonso de £. 
Taunay made so much use in his notable studies of colonial life in 
SSo Páulo; the Acts and the General Registry of the Chamber of São 
Faulo;^^ the registry-books of baptisms, deaths, and marriages of 
freedmen and slaves and those containing the roll of families and the 
proceedings in matrimonial cases such as are preserved in ecclesiastical 
archives; the genealogical studies of Pedro de Taqucs in São Paulo 
and of Borges da Fonseca in Pernambuco; the reports of hygiene 
committees; parliamentary documents; medical studies and theses, 
including doctoral theses submitted to the faculties of Rio dc Janeiro 
and Bahia; the documents published by the National Archives,"^ by 
the National Library, by the Brazilian Historical Institute in its 
Review, and those published by the Institutes of São Paulo, Pernam- 
buco, and Bahia. I myself not only had the good fortune to come 
upon various letters from the Paranhos family which had been kindly 
placed at my disposal by my friend Pedro Paranhos; I also had access 
to another important family collection, unfortunately greatly dam- 
aged by moths and humidity but containing documents dating from 
colonial times: that of the Noruega plantation, which for long years 
was the property of Commander Manoel Thomé de Jesus and which 
was handed down to his descendants. It is highly desirable that what 
is left of these old collections belonging to private individuals be 

Doctmientos interessantes para ã 
história e costwries de São Paulo. 

Atas and Registro Gerai da Ca- 
mara de São Paulo. 

"Among others, docnments hav- 
ing to do with the land. In his preface 
to ^^Syjwpsis das Sis? fiarias Registradas 
nos Livros Existentes no Archivo da 
Thesouraria da Faze?ida da Bahia^* 
("Synopsis of the Acts of Allotment 
Rei^steied in the Boolis Exiseeot in 

the Exchequer of the Plantation of 
Bahia"), Publicações do Arqtúvo Na- 
cional, XXVII, Alcides Bezerra 
stresses the interest these documents 
hold for the sociologist, the andiiopo- 
sociologtst, and the simple genealogist. 
They constitute, indeed, a "founda- 
tion stone for Brazilian territorial his- 
tory," and any interpretation of our 
social development must be based 
upcm an acquaintance with them* 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

brought together in libraries or museums, and that the ecclesiastical 
archives and those of the tertiary orders be conveniently catalogued. 
Various documents that are still in manuscript form in the archives 
and libnirics ought to be published as soon as possible. I may perhaps 
be permitted to remark that it is regrettable that some of our historical 
reviews should devote page after page to the publication of patriotic 
addresses and literary gossip while so much material of strictly histor- 
ical interest remains unknown or is difficult of access to students. 

For a knowledge of the social history of Brazil no source is more 
dependable than the travel books written by foreigners— although it 
is necessary to exercise great discrimination becweeen superficial writ- 
ers or those whose work, though suggestive or informative, is vitiated 
by preconceptions (the Thévets, Expillys, Dabadies) and the good 
and honest ones like Léry, Hans Staden, Koster, Saint-Hilaire, Rendu, 
Spix, Martius, Burton, Tollenare, Gardner, Mawe, Maria Graham, 
Kidder, and Fletcher.^ I have drawn largely upon diese writers, 

"Most of die andiofs mentkmed Pimérieur du Brésil (iS^z). \,KaíávL^B 
are famous in their field. Jean de Etudes sttr le Brésil was puUldied it 

Léry, French Huguenot and a shoe- Paris in 1848. J. B. von Spix and C. F. 
maker by trade, has been called "the P. von Martius were the authors of 
Montaigne of travelers." He was the Reise in Brasilien (Munich, 1823-31); 
mánor of a Huunre (Tun voyage faict ui EIl8^sh translatioii. Travels hi Brth 
en U terre du BrésU (new edition, 
with Introductiim and Notes by Paul 
Gaffarel, Paris, 1770). A Portuguese 
translation of this work, Viage7?i â 
terra do Brasil (^Voyage to the Land 
of Brazil), by the disdnguished con- 
temporary writer and scholar Sergio 
Milliet, was published at São Paulo in 
1 94 1. Hans Staden was the author of 
the first book published on Brazil, a 
famous work commonly known as 
the True History (Wabrhaftige His- 
toríã)^ first published at Marburg in 
1557, and since translated into many 
languages. There is an Elnglish ver- 
sion: Hans Staden: The True His- 
tory of His Captivity, ifjl. Trans- 
lated and Edited by Malcolm Letts 
(London, 1928; New York, 1929). 
For a Portuguese rendering, see Hans 
Staden: Meu Captiveiro entre os Sel- 
vagem do BrasU, ediled by Moncdro 
Lobato (Rio de Janeôx», 1925). Henry 
Koster was die authw of Travels in 
Brazil (London, i8i<5). Auguste de 
Saint-Hilaire wrote Voyages dam 

zily iSif-tSjo, was published at Lon- 
don in 1924. Richard F. Burton's EX' 

plorations of the Highlands of the 
Brazil appeared at London in 1869. 
L. F. Tollenare was a French traveler 
who left manuscript notes on his 
residence in Brazil diac have been 
published in Portugue^ie under the 
title: "Notas Dorninicais Tomadas 
durante uma Residência no Brasil, 
tStS-tStS" (^Dominical Nam Made 
during a Ròidence in Brazfl,** etc.); 
these notes appeared in part in the 
Revista do Instituto Arqueológico e 
Geográphico FemainbucanOf No. 61 
(1905), the portion referring to Per- 
nambuco being translated by Alffedo 
de Carvalho. George Gardner: Tr<w- 
els in the Interior of Brazil, Princi- 
pally through the Northern Provinces 
(London, 1846). John Mawe: Travels 
m the Interior of Brazil (Philadelphia, 
1816). Maria (Graham's wock has been 
referred to; see note 40 above. The 
North Americans, Daniel P. Kidder 
and J. C. Fletcher, are the authors of 

Copyrighted material 

Preface to the Second English-Language Edition xlix 

putting to use here a familiarity, daring from my student days, with 
this species of-I shall not say literature, for most of these books" 
are very badly written, even though they display at times a de- 
lightful and aimost childlike candor. I had occasion to explore this 
field in connection with the research work for my master's thesis, 
Social Life in Brazil in the Middle of the i pth Century j submitted 
in 1923 to the Faculty of Polirical and Social Sciences of Columbia 
Univerrity. This study Henry L. Mencken did me the honor to 
read, and it was he who advised me to expand it into a book. The 
book in quesrion, which is the present one, is accordingly indebted 
for this word of encouragement to the most andacademk of 

To come back to the quesdon of sources, mention must be made 
of the valuable data to be encountered in die letters of the Jesuits. 
Already a large amount of this material has been published; but a 
note from João Lúdo de Azevedo, an authority on the subject, re- 
minds me diat there must still be in the archives of the order a great 
deal that has not been printed. The Jesuits were not only great letter- 
writers, many of their letters touching on the intimate details of the 
social life of the colonists; they also sought to develop in their pupils, 
the caboclos and ?mmehicos,^^ a taste for the epistolary art. Writing 
from Bahia in 1552, the Jesuit Francisco Pires, in speaking of the 
pilgrimages made by his young wards to the backlands, has this to 
say: "... I shall not undertake a description, for the reason that the 
Father has directed them to write to the young of Lisbon, and it may 
be that you will have seen their letters. . . ." It would be interesting 
to come upon these communicadons and see what the Brazilian 

a well-known work: Brazil and the 
Brazilians (Boston, 1879). See also D. 
P. Kidder's Sketches of Residence and 
Travel in Brazil (Philadelphia, 1845). 
On Thcvct, see Chapter II, note 115, 
p. 103. (Translator.) 

I have also at times, in transcrib- 
ing passages from well-known travel 
aocoimts, made tat of cadsung Poiv 
tuguese tnmshtioiis, but have been 
careful always to check them with 
the original, correcting them in cer- 
tain instances wliere I disagree with 
the translators. The texts of the oldest 
travel books— those 'of the fifteenth, 
SBteenth, seventeenth, and e^teenth 
centuries and the early part of the 

nineteenth century— have been tran- 
scribed, where they arc kept in the 
original, with all their archaisms. The 
same is true of the texts of the an- 
cienic Fortuf^uese and Brasdlian chron- 
icles, treatises, and documents. Those 
works, looked upon as principal 
sources, have been indicated in this 
book where quotations from them ap- 

mameluco is the offsprmg of 
white and Indian. It is sometimes cm- 
ployed as a generic term, embracing 
all varieties of mestizo, including the 
offspring of Negro and whbe^ of 
Negro and Indian, etc. (Tiandatoc) 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

caboclos of the sixteenth century had to say to Lisbon. The letters 
of rhc Jesuits frequently contain valuable bits of information con- 
cerning social life in the first century of colonization and the contact 
of European culture with that of the native and the African. Thus, 
Father Antonio Pires, in a letter written in 1552, describes for us a 
procession of Guinea Negroes in Pernambuco who had already been 
organized into a confraternity. They were all very orderly as they 
marched '*one after another with their hands constantly upraised, as 
they all repeated: Ora pro nobisT The same Father Antonio Pires, 
in a letter from Pernambuco dated August 2, 1551, alludes to the 
settlers on the land of Duarte Coelho as "the best folk to be found 
in all the capitânias'^ Another letter informs us that the Indians at 
first "were embarrassed in pronouncing Santa Joogaba^ which in our 
language means: *by the Sign of the Holy Cross'; for this impressed 
them as being a kind of foolish dumb show." As for Anchieta,"^ 
he mentions me many poisonous insects that made life miserable for 
these first settlers, with jararacas °® crawling through the houses and 
dropping from the roofs upon the beds. '*And when people awake 
they find them coiled around their necks or their legs, and when 

th^ go to put on their shoes in the morning th^ discover them 
there." Both Anchieta and Nóbrega lay stress upon the sexual ir- 
regularities of the colonists, their relations with the Indians and the 
Negroes; and they mention the fact that the foodstuffs derived from 
the land were of poor quality, costing all of "three times what they 
do in Portugal" In connection with 9ie natives, Anchieta had occa^ 
sion to repeat the lament of Camões with respect to the Portuguese, 
maldi^ of their "lack of wit"->that is to say, of intelligence~a con- 
dition rendered worse by the fact that they would not apply them- 
selves to study but were always ready for festivals, singing, and 
merrymaking. He also emphasizes the abundance of sweets and dainty 

56 "The country ^^ as divided, rather 
empirically, into several provinces 
caUed capitâmasy which were donated 
as ãeh to bonkntpt Porci^uese 
fidalgos who were to rule them as 
their captains." Erico Veríssimo: Bra- 
zilian Literature: An Outline (New 
York: The Macmillan Company; 1945)* 
p. d. (Translator.) 

57 Cartas Jesuíticas (/yjo-'jii) (Jes- 
uit Letters) (Rio de Janeiro, 1887), 
p. 41. 

The Jesuit missionary José de An- 

chieta (1530-97) is one of the first 
outstanding names in the literature 
of Brazil. (Translator.) 

5^ The jararaca is a pottooons snake 
of Brazil (the Botbrops jararaca), 
brownish in color with red and black 
spots. ( I ranslator.) 

^Manoel de Nóbrega is another 
important name in the early litera- 
ture; his Cartas do BrasU (Letters 
from Brazil), 1549-60, were published 
at Rio de Janeiro in 1886. (TraosU- 


Preface to the Second EngUsh-Lmiguage Edition li 

repasts, orangeade, preserved squash, preserved mamielo, etc., all 
made with sugar.*^^ These are realistic and honest details such as are 
to be gathered in large number from the letters written by the padres, 
amid other data that is of purely religious or devotional interest. They 
are details that have a light to throw on those aspects of colonial life 
that are generally neglected by other chroniclers. Nor have we any 
cause to complain of laymen, who, in chronicles like those of Pero 
Magalhães de Gandavo and Gabriel Soares de Souza, also have af- 
forded us significant and lively glimpses of the indmate life of the 
early colonists. Gabriel Soares even goes into details regarding the 
revenues of the plantation-owners, the material of \y\\\c\í their houses 
and chapels were built, the food they ate, the confections and sweet- 
meats of the House kitchen, and the clothing that the ladies wore. 
A bit more of this sort of thing and he would have been a gossip 
like Pepys. 

There are other sources that will afford information or, amply, 
ofiFer 8uggesti<ms to the student of the intimate life and sexual mord- 
ity of Brazilians in the days of slavery: the rural folklore in those 
regions where slave labor has left its deepest imprint; manuscript 
notebooks containing popular songs and cake recipes; ^ newspaper 
files; books of etiquette; and, finally, the Brazilian novel, which in the 
pages of some of our best writers affords man) interesdnff details 
having to do with the life and customs of the old patriarchal family. 
One may mention: Machado de Assis in Helena, the Postbumaus 
Memoirs af Braz Cubas^ laid Garcia^ Dam Casmurro, and other of 
his novels and volumes of short stories; Joaquim Manuel de Macedo 
in Cruel Victims,^ The Brunette,^ The Blond Ladf^ and Women 
of the Mantilla,^ all of these bdng romances that are filled with 

Joseph de Anchieta: Inforvtações 

e Fragfnentos Históricos (Historical 
Data and Fragments) (Rio de Ja- 
neiro, 1886), p. 37. 

•2 1 possess one of these notebooks 
dwt belonged to Gerôncio Dias de 
Arruda Falcão, for some time master 
of the Noruega plantation and a great 
gourmet. Seated in his rocking-chair, 
old Gerôncio would sometimes super- 
vise the preparation of the finest of 
ragouts or desserts. I also have a song 
book that was formerly the property 
of my greac-unde Goero Brasileixo 
de Mello. 

^Memórias Póstumas de Braz 


Víti7fias Algozes, 
®^ A Moreninha. 

^6 O Moço Louro. A Moreninha 
and O Mofú Louro have del^hted 
generations of Brazilians and have 

gone through numerous reprints. A 
new edition of A Moreninha was 

{mblished at Rio de Janeiro in 1943. 
t â the custom of hyper-ssthetes to 
drop a sneer at Manuel de Macedo, 
but he was in many ways a true 
writer of the people. (Translator.) 
^''As Mulheres de Mantilha, 



The Masters and the Slaves 

^^sinhãTÁnhas^^ ^Haiás,^^ and "?7mcamas'*;^ José de Alencar in Mother^ 
Lucíola, Senhora, Familiar Demon^^ Ipê Trimk,''^ Golden Dreams^ 
and Gazelle's Hoof; Francisco Pinheiro Guimarães in the Story of a 
Rich Girf* and PunishT/ient;""^ Manuel de Almeida in the Me^jtoirs 
of a Militia Sergeant; "^^ Raul Pompéia in The Athen^i?^;'''' and Júlio 
Ribeiro in Flesh In addition there are Franklin Tavora, Agrário de 
Menezes, Aiartins Penna, Américo Werneck, and França Júnior, 
novelists, folklorists, or writers for the theater who with a greater or 
less degree of realism have set down characteristic aspects of the 
Brazilian's domestic and sexual life,^^ having to do with the relations 
between master and slave, the work on the plantations, the festivals 
and processions, etc. The same thing was done in his own way-thac 
is to say, through caricature -by the seventeenth-century satiric poet 
Gregório de Matos. In the field of memoirs and reminiscences the 
Viscount Taunay, \^ieira Fazenda, and the two Mello Moraes have 
provided us with valuable data.®^ There are in existence novels by 
foreigners undertaking to portray Brazilian life in the days of slav- 

Terms expressive of the familiar 
and affectionate relations between 
master (ar mistress) and slave. Gooh 
pare our Southern "honey,** 
mammy," etc. Sinhazinha—dunmu- 
tive of sinhãj which the slaves used 
for senhora-^-w2LS employed in ad- 
dressing the daughter oi the house. 
Imã (yaya) was the fonn of address 
for girls and young ladies generally. 
Mucama (vmcaniba) was the term 
for a favorite slave girl who served 
AS housemaid, personal attendant, and 
fomedmes as wet-muse. (Translator.) 
«» Mãe. 

"^^ Demónio Familiar, 
Tronco de Ipê. 
Sonhos de Ouro. 
^Pata de QáBeku José de Alencar 
was Brazil's great romantic novelist. 
He has been compared to Sir Walter 
Scott and to James Fenimore Cooper. 
^* História de uma Moça Rica, 

Memórias de um Sargento de 
Milícias. Manuel de Almeida, who 
died prematurely, leaving this one 
masterpiece behind him, has been seen 

as a potential Brazilian Balzac cut off 
by death. (Translator.) 

^ O Ateneu, 

''^A Came. 

"^^A vivacious account of practi- 
cally all the writers mentioned by 
Freyre in this passage will be found 
In Erico Verissmio's BrassUim Lkerã- 
ture: An Outline (New York, 1945). 
See the preface that Fr^ve wrote 
for the volume by Olivio Monte- 
negro: O Romance Brasileiro: As 
Suas Origens e Tendências (The Bra- 
zUim Navel: Its Origjbu and Tenden^ 
cies) (Rio de Janetro, 1938). (Trans- 

Alfredo d'Escragnolle (Visconde 
de) Taunay is one of the best known 
and most matnre of nbeteentli*cen!> 
tury Brazilian novelists. His novel 
Inocência is the most widely trans- 
lated of Brazilian books. Among his 
collections of essays is Céos e Terras 
do Brasil {Heavens and Earths of 
BragU) (Rio de Janeiro^ 1882). Vieira 
Fazenda, MeUo Moraea, and Mdio 
Moraes fils were cnd-of-the-ccntury 
publicists and memoir-writers. (Trans- 

Copyrighted material 

Preface to the Second Eiiglish-Langiiage Edition \m 

eiy,^^ but none of them is of any great worth from die pdnt of 
view of social history. As to the iconography of slavery and patri- 
archal Ufe, that has been masterfully executed by artists of the order 
of Franz Post, Zachatias Wagner, Debret, Rugendas, not to speak 
of lesser and even untutored ones-draughtsmen, lithographers, en- 
gravers, watercolorists, and painters of ex-votos-who from the six- 
teenth century on (many of them being illustrators of travel books) 
have reproduced and preserved for us, with emotional power or real- 
istic exactness, intimate household scenes, the life of the street, and 
the work of the fields, the plantations and manor houses, and ladies, 
slaves, and mestizos of various pes.^ Out of the last fifty years of 
slavery there have come down to us, in addition to portraits in oil, 
daguerreotypes and photographs showing the aristocratic profiles of 
plantation-owners in their old-fashioned cravats; sinhâ-danas and 
sinhá-moças^ with little church-bonnets on their high-combed hair; 
young girls on the day of their first communion, all of them clad in 
white, with gloves, garland, veil, prayerbook, and rosary; and large 
patriarchal family groups, showing grandparents and grandchildren, 
young lads in the cassocks of seminary students, and small lasses 
smothered in the silks of full-grown ladies. 

But I must not extend this preface any further, having already 
wandered sufficiently far afield from my original purpose, which was 

®i Among others, the novel by 
Adrien Delpech: Ro?nan Brésilienj 
and Saint Martial's Au Brésil; there is 
flbo Mme Julie Delafage-Brehier's 
book, Les Portugais a*Aviénque 
(Souvenirs historiques de la Guerre 
du Brésil en i6^$) (Paris, 1847). 
Senhor Agrippino Grieco, in a critical 
ardde upon this present work, recalls 
the ncnrel wntcen by the Spaniard, 
Juan Valera: Gemo y Figurãy *Vhere 
there are scenes that have much to 
tell us about Rio in the middle of 
the Second Ejnpire." 

^ Among the fllbams may be men- 
tioned: the Allnnn Brésilien (aqua- 
tints) of Ludw ig and Briggs on Rio 
de Janeiro and the Manória de Per- 
Tunnbuco (lithographs by F. H. Carls 
and drawings by L. Schlappriz). In 
addition, tfaãe are various ooUecdoos 
of wate^ooloca and engravings, among 

which may be noticed: the Oliveira 
Lima collection of Brasiliana at pres- 
ent in the Catholic University of 
America, in Washington, D. C; die 
collection of die old Baltar Museum, 
which, thanks to the happy^ initiative 
of its former director Estácio Coim- 
bra, has been acquired by the Mu- 
seum of the State of Pernambuco, un- 
der the directioa of Annibal Fer- 
nandes; and die collections of the 
Historical Museum and the National 
Library in Rio de Janeiro. Also of 
historical interest are the ex-voto tab- 
lets scattered through the sacristies 
of old churches, plantation chapels, 
etc. Rotting away in the little church 
of Sitio da Capela, near Recife, are. 
some very interesting ones. 

**Tenns af^pUed to the ladies and 
young women of the Big House. 

Copyrighted material 

The Masters and the Slaves 

merely to give a general idea of the plan and method of the essay that 
follows and the conditions under which it was written. An essay in 
genetic sociology and social history, with the object of determining 
and at times interpreting some of the more significant aspects of the 
formation of the Brazilian family. Unfortunately, I was not able to 
realize my intention of condensing the entire work into a single 
volume. The material overflowed, exceeding the reasonable limits of 
a one-volume book. The study of certain aspects of the subject ac- 
cordingly had to be reserved for Volume II., and, for that matter, 
these could be developed still more extensively. 

The turn-of-the-century period in Brazil, for example, remains to 
be interpreted -the attitudes, tendencies, and prejudices of the first 
generation to follow the Law of Free Birth ^* and the debacle of 1888; 
a study should be made of the anti-monarchist reactions of the prop- 
ertied class, its bureaucratic inclinations, the tendency of many of its 
members to embark upon liberal careers by becoming State function- 
aries and obtaining republican sinecures-sinecures that prolonged 
the life of ease of the sons of ruined gentlemen and did away with the 
degrading necessity of engaging in manual labor for the sons of slaves 
anxious to put as great a distance as possible between diemsehres and 
the slave hut; in short, the entire bureaucratic and non-productive 
regime that, in the agrarian Brazil of old, with the exception of those 
regions that benefited more intensively from European immigration, 
followed the abolition of slave labor-all this should be related to 
slavery and to the one-crop system, which still continue to influence 
the conduct, ideas, attitudes, and sexual morality of Brazilians. So far 
as that is concerned, a latifcmdiary monoculture even after the aboli- 
tion of slavery found a means of subsisting in certain parts of the 
country, with more absorptive and sterilizing effect than under the 
old regime and with abuses that were still more feudal in character, 
through the creation of a proletariat under conditions of life less 
favorable dian those of the mass of slaves. Roy Nash was astonished 
to find in the hands of a single individual in Brazil bndholdings that 
exceeded the whole of Portugal in size, while he learned that in the 
Amazon region the Costa Ferreiras were the owners of an estate 
whose area was greater than that of England, Scotland, and Ireland 
combined.^ In Pernambuco and Alagoas, along with the development 
of sugar factories, large-scale property has increased these last few 

^Lei de Ventre Livre j passed in lemained slaves until the age <tf 

1871, giving freedom to children born twenty-one). (Translator.) 
in slavery (although sometimes they Roy Nash: The Conquest of Bra^ 

zil (New York, 192Ó). 

Copyrighted material 

Preface to the Second Englisb-Langiiage Edition Iv 

years, bringing with it in its wake, and as the result of monoculture, 
an irregularity and deficiency in the supply of f oodstu£Fs such as meati 
núl^f eggs, and vegetables. In Pernambuco, in Alagoas, in Bahia, they 
continue to consume die same bad meat as in colonial days. Bad, and 
dear in price.^ It may be said, then, that from the point of view of 
the general welfare and that of the working classes in particular, the 
worst features of the old economic order persist, and have persisted 
since 1888, when the patriarchal system was abolished that up to then 
had sheltered the slaves, fed them with a certain liberality, cared for 
them in sickness and old age, and provided their sons widi an oppor- 
tunity to rise in the sodal scale. The slave's place was taken by the 
pariah of the factory, the slave hut was replaced by the slums, and 
the plantation master by the factory-owner and absentee capitalist. 
Many Big Houses remained closed, with the big estate-owners roam- 
ing about in automobiles from city to city, living in Swiss chalets and 
Norman villas, and Ending diversion in Paris with ladies of easy 

I must express my thanks to all those who have aided me either in 
the work of research or in the preparadon of the manuscript and 
reading of the proofs of this essay. In connecdon with the proof- 
reading I am chiefly indebted to Manuel Bandeira, Anodier friend, 

Luis Jardim, has aided me in cleaning up the nianusci ipt, which had 
left for Rio full of erasures and corrections. I wish to thank them 

According to official statistics— 
Annuàrio Estatístico de Fernambuco 
{Statistical Yearbook of Femain- 
buco) (Recife, 1929-30)— die zone 
due in Pernambuco is sacrificed to 
monoculture embraces an area of 
1,200,000 hectares [2,965,200 acres], 
with only 138,000 [340,998 acres] un- 
der cultivation. In an address deliv- 
ered before die Rotary Oub of 
Recife, Senhor André Bezerra, rep- 
resenting the Land-Lease and Cattle 
Corporation of that city, stressed the 
fact that 88.5 per cent of the zone in 
question was oompletdy uncultivated, 
while 20 per cent of^ the total, or 
240,000 hectares [593,040 acres], had 
been "transformed into pasture land, 
seeded with selected grasses and con- 
veniently divided into endosures, 
with adequate water supply, sanitaiy 

baths, etc., to maintain a herd of 240,- 
000 head, which, on the basis of 10 
per cent being utilizablc for the pur- 
pose, would furnish i^fioo head for 
the slaughter pens. . . (Diário de 
Fenmuhuco, April 2, 1933.) This is a 
subject that I propose to treat in 
greater detail in a forthcoming work. 
In passing I would remark that it is 
hard to understand die obstacles diat 
are raised in Pernambuco to the im- 
portation of frozen meat from Rio 
Grande do Sul and São Paulo, which 
would improve the quality of food- 
stuffs and bring down die price, whfle 
at the same time no better use is made, 
from the point of view of the general 
welfare, of those lands that are sacri- 
ficed to a latifundiary monoculture— 
unless it is that governments act the 
way they do under pressure from the 
so-called **silent interests." 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

both for their intelligent assistance, as well as those who so kindly 
helped me in translating from the Latin, the Gemian, and the Dutch 
passages in old documents, and those who facilitated my library and 
folklore research: my father, Dr. Alfredo Freyre; my cousin José 
Antônio Gonsalves de Mello (Neto); my friends Júlio de x'Mbu- 
querque Bello and Sérgio Buarque de Hollanda; Maria Bernarda, who 
gave me a quite satisfactory schooling in culinar)^ traditions; the 
former slaves and old plantation servants Luiz Mulatinho, Maria 
Curinga, Jovina, Bernarda. Sérgio Buarque translated from the Ger- 
man for me practically the entire essay of Watjen.^^ Júlio Bello on his 
Queimadas plantation brought togedier for me interestmg folklore 
data concerning the relations of master and slave. Alone or in the 
company of Pedro Paranhos and Cicero Dias, I made excursions for 
folklore research, or for obtaining an acquaintance with the typical 
Big Houses, through various portions of the old aristocratic region 
of Pernambuco, and I must here thank all those who extended to me 
their hospitality on these occasions: Alfredo Machado on the Noruega 
plantation; André Dias de Arruda Falcão at Mupã; Gerôncio Dias de 
Arruda Faldb at Dois Leões; Júlio Bello at Queimadas; the Baronesa 
de Contendas at Contendas; Domingos de Albuquenjoe at Ipojuca; 
Edgar Domingues at Raiz-a true old people's home, where I en- 
countered four survivors of the plantation semaks, one of dieiu a 
centenarian, the others octogenarians. The oldest of this group, Luiz 
Mulatinho, had a marvelous memory. In connection vndi omer re- 
gions that I visited and which are now well known to me, I must 
recall the kindness of a number of persons: Joaquim Cavalcanti; Júlio 
Maranhão; Pedro Paranhos Ferreira, owner of Japaranduba, grandson 
of the Viscount and nqphew of the Baron of Rio Branco; Estácio 
Coimbra; José Nunes da Cunha; the Lyra family in Alagoas; the 
Pessôa de Mello family in North Pdnambuco; the relatives of my 
friend José LJns do Rego ^ in Soudi Pârafba; my own relatives, the 
Sousa e Mdlos, on the SSo Severino dos Ramos plantation, in Fau 
d'Alho-the first plantation that I ever knew, whidi always awakens 
personal memories when I revisit it. My thanks to Paulo Ptado, who 

•'E. Hermann Wat) en: "Das ]u- 
dentwn nnd die Anfánge der Mod- 
emen Kolonisation^^ in Das hol- 
landische Kolonialreich in Brasilien 
(Gotha, 192 1 ). (Transbtor.) 

^José Lins do Rego, one of Bra> 
zil*s most distinguished novelists, is 
the author of the "Sugar-Cane Cycle" 
iCiclo da Cam de Assucar), a novel- 

sequence in which he describes, widi 

a melancholy Thomas Hardy touch, 
the rapidly disappearing life of the 
old sugar plantations. Lins do Rego 
has also written one of die best essays 
on Gilberto Freyre, in his preface to 
Freyre's Region and Tradition (see 
note 5, above). (Translator.) 

Copyrighted material 

Preface to the Second English-Laiiguage Edition Ivii 

arranged such an interesting excursion for me through the old slave- 
holding region that extends from the state of Rio to São Paulo, o£Fer- 
ing me hospitality^ afterwards, he and Luiz Prado, at the coffee planta- 
tion of Sdo Martinho. I wish to thank him also for his advice to retom 
from Sio Paulo to Rio by sea, in a small steamer putting in at the 
old colonial ports^ a bit of advice tiiat Capistrano de Abnsu used to 
give my friend The author of the Foftrét of Brazil,'^ the truth is, 
distrustful and fond of his ease, never put into practice the old o^hh 
ch*s advice, possibly because he foresaw the horrors to which those 
innocent ones who entrusted themselves to boats of the IraH make 
would be subjected in dieir laborious effort to become acquainted 
with diis portion of our Brazilian physiognomy, which is such an 
expressive cme. 

I must extend my thanks, also, for the courteous treatment shown 
me in libraries, archives, and museums in the course of my researches: 
at the National Library of Lisbon; at the Portuguese Ethnological 
Museum, organized and directed by the scholarly Leite de Vascon- 
cellos; at the Library of Congress in Washington, especially in the 
documents section; at the Catholic University of America, whose 
Oliveira Lima Collection is so rich in rare travel books on Portuguese 
America; at Stanford University, whose John Casper Branner Collec- 
tion similarly specializes in books on Brazil by foreign scientists- 
scientists who, like Saint-Hilaire, Koster, Alaria Graham, Spix, 
Martius, Gardner, Mawe, and Prince Maximilian, were often keen 
observers of the social and family life of Brazilians; in the docu- 
mentary section of the Stanford Library, where 1 made use of the 
valuable collection of diplomatic reports and British parliamentary 
documents^ on the hfe of slaves on Brazilian plantations; at the 
National Library of Rio de Janeiro, at present directed by my friend 
and teacher Rudolfo Garcia; at the library of the Brazilian Historical 
Institute, where I was always so graciously received by Max Fleiuss; 
at the Archaeological Institute of Pernambuco; at the Nina Rodrigues 
Museum in Bahia; in the documentary section of the Library of the 
State of Pernambuco; at |he Registry Ofiãce of Ipojuca, whose 
nineteenth-century inventories afíord interesting documentation for 
the study of the old slave-holding economy and patriarchal family 

®® The Retrato do Brasil is a famous ^ British and Foreign State Papers, 

work by Paulo Prado. Capistrano de 182^-1841 (London); and Parliamen- 

Abreu, the "old caboclo" fine scholar tary Papers (London), especially, Re- 

and historian of the tum-of-the-cen- ports from Committees, Sugar and 

tiiiy en, was an authority on Indian Go£Fee Planting, House of Goaunonsi 

dialects. (Transbtor.) Sessioo 1847-8. 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

life; and, finally, at the Cathedral of Olinda, whose archives contain 
the manuscripts of pastoral letters and bishops' reports touching on 
fashions, sexual morahty, the relations of master and slave, etc- 
manuscripts which the canon, Carmo Baratta, kindly placed at my 
disposal for purposes of study. I thank my good friends André and 
Gerôncio Dias de Arruda Falcão and Alfredo Machado for having 
thrown open to me their family archives at the Noruega plantation, 
with virgin documents dating from the time of Commander Manoel 
Thome de Jesus» while others are of the epoch of the Baron of Jundiá 
-some of these are of lively interest for the study of the social life of 
plantation-owners and their relations with their slaves. To José Maria 
Carneiro de Albuquerque e Mello, director of the Library of the State 
of Pernambuco, my thanks for the exceUent reproductions from Piso, 
Barleus, and Henderson, which at my request were prepared for use 
as illustrations, in this book. Thanks also to Cicero Dias and to the 
architect Carlos Pacheco Leão for plans of the Big House of Noruega. 
There is one other name that must be associated with this essay: that 
of my friend Rodrigo M. F. de Andrade. He it was who diiefly 

inspired me to write and publish it. 

I am not unaware of those defects of construction in this essay 

which various critics have emphasized. Some of these I have under- 
taken to correct, but there remains throughout this book that lack of 
cohesion of subject-matter which a foreign critic, even though a most 
friendly one, has taken occasion to lament in connection with these 
pages, which have in them so litde that is French in their technique 
and, it may be, little that is Latin in their manner of presentation, 
which is somewhat loose and informal. It should be remarked, how- 
ever, that this essay pretends to be not so much a conventional literary 
work as a piece of research and an attempt at a fresh interpretation of 
a determined group of facts having to do with the formation of 
Brazilian society. 

With regard to the method of interpreting my material, I have eor 
deavored to be ahnost entirely objective, but at certain points an 
objective-introspective method has been employed, somewhat in the 
manner of certain Spanish studies in which diere is to be seen an ex- 
tension of the technique of introspective analysis to the task of re- 
capturing the past and the life of a people— the concentration of the 
Spiritual Exercises applied to the more intimate facts of history until 
one is able to feel the life lived by our ancestors in all its, so to speak, 
sensual fullness of outline. It is also the Proustian method extended to 
social history after having been R<miain Rdland's technique of mak- 

Copy righted material 

Preface to the Second English-Language Edition lix 

ing his characters lose their present-day identity in die successive 
"several times" of their forefathers. Jean-Chiistophe, as readers of 
Rolland will recall, sometimes felt that what was now was not now, 
but some other time. There seems to be no social history when the 
past is not re-captured in this way until it becomes as alive as the 
present and the present seems to be some other time of the re-captured 

It is said of Aiichelet that he tried to re-capture the past of medieval 
France by re-peopling its great churches: through architecture. It 
seems that in the Brazilian past, as in some other pasts, the equivalent 
of great churches or castles or kings' palaces was the big patriarchal 
houses that were at the center of the conmiunity's life during its 
formative years. To re-capture that life, one has to attempt to re- 
people diose houses. And no attempt of this sort can be valid without 
what some modem historians know as ^'imaginative sympathy." That 
is why one modem historian, following su^estions from Herder, 
has said that "we ourselves are Time, inasmuch as we live." 

With this notion of Time the past ceases to be dead in contrast with 
the present as the only living reality. Historical periods are now con- 
sidered by some students of man to be as \'alid for a genuine division 
of mankind as races and nations -rather than societies and cultures 
that sociologically do not seem ever to die entirely, but appear to 
combine in new forms. 

As to the absence of didactic qualities in this book, stressed by one 
critic, I am fully aware of it; but the truth is that I have no pedagogic 
intention. Similarly, my purpose is not to draw conclusiojis^ much less 
to judge. Taking as my point of departure new hypotheses, ideas, and 
even at times highly personal intuitions, I have limited myself to the 
effort to determine certain aspects of the patriarchal influence in the 
formation of the Brazilian family, though I do at times venture upon 
interpretations of this influence on present-day Brazil. To those 
thinkers who arc wholly uninterested in historical and sociological 
research I leave the task, a loftier and more brilliant one, to be sure, of 
formulating conclusions independent of historical research. What 
will be found here is simply a group of facts that, by reason of their 
constant social significance and the novel manner in which they are 
presented and interpreted, ma^ possibly give pause for thought In a 
direction contrary to the opmions advanced by those improvisers 
who are not alwajrs very exact in the conclusions they reach through 
a process of pure sociological divination. I have attempted a study of 
Brazilian patriarchal society and culture in which the social reality is 

Copyrighted material 

The Masters and the Slaves 

seen as a constant flow of the past and the present into the future -a 
constant flow of tinie that never stops to allow for definitive sociolog- 
ical conclusions about rigid "historical periods." 

Still other critics have noted that there are few references in this 
work to the great names among the historians of my country— Han- 
delmann, for example, Soiithey, Varnhagcn, Capistrano, OHveira 
Lima, Rocha Pombo, João Ribeiro, Joaquim Nabuco, some of whom 
have written memorable pages on the subjects treated here— slavery, 
for instance.®^ This apparent lack of devotion to the masters on the 
part of a beginner is partly to be explained by the fact that one of 
my chief concerns has been a direct contact with my sources, so 
often cited in these pages: the manuscripts to be found in family 
archives and churches; the letters of the Jesuits; wills; allotmeats; 
diaries; travel books written by foreigners; royal decrees and regubk- 
tions; the ctxrrespondence of colonial governors with the court; news- 
papers; pastoral letters; doctoral theses; ph3rsicians' reports; acts in 
chamber; etc. It is upon such material as this and upon researches 
made in the field that this essay is in reality based, and not upon the 
books of recognized historians and their use and interpretation of 
those sources. 

It would be impossible to reply here to those who have criddzed 
the language of this essay— a language that represents a reaction, pos- 
sibly exaggerated, to the pedantries of sdenttfic erudition, technical 
terminology, grammatical correctness, and style. By a critic more 
orthodox in his notions of propriety I have been accused of being 
"anecdotical," while my language is "lacking in dignity" for "so 
serious a work"— it is even "vulgar" and "anything but technical'' 

With respect to the last point, I would merely remind my readers 

*i H. Handelmaim is the author of 
a history of Brazil, translated from 
the German and published in Portu- 
guese {História do Brasil) at Rio de 
Janeiro in 1931. Robert Soiitfaey*s 
History of BnaU (Loadoa, 1810-19) 
is well known. The nineteenth-cen- 
tury historian Adolpho de Vamhagen 
wrote an História Geral do Brasil 
{General History of Brazil)^ an His- 
tâfUi das luetas coiara os bolkmdeses 
(History of the Struggles against the 
Dutch), an História da Independência 
(History of Independence), etc. Ca- 

Sistrano de Abreu's works include: 
rasU no secUh XVi (Bnesã in dfe 

Sixteenth Century); O Descobri' 
mento do Brasil (The Discovery of 

Brazil); and Capítulos de história 
colonial (Chapters of Colonial His- 
tory), Olhrdia lima's Memórias 
{Memoirs) appeared at Rio de Jaadro 
in 1937; theie are many passages in 
his earlier writings dealmg with Bra- 
zilian history. He was a statesman, 
diplomat, and historian. Rocha Pombo 
is the avdior of an Histdria do BmO, 
as is João Ribeiro. Joaquim Nabnoo 
is the author of several historical es- 
says, one of them— O Abolicionismo 
(London, 1883)— on the abolition 
movement. (Txansbtof*) 


Preface to the Second English-Language Edition bd 

that in sociological, anthropological, and historical-social studies the 
criterion of the worth of facts is every day coming more and more to 
take its place alongside the criterion of pure materiality, tending to 
break the rigidity of the latter, to humanize it. In connection with 
such smdies the time is past for imitating that difficult and inhuman 
idiom in which certain scientists, chiefly technicians, take a delight. 
This for the very reason that the situation in the social sciences is dif- 
ferent from that in the other sciences. Ás Maclver says, in his great 
sociological work, Cammunky,*^ there are no chemically good or evil 
results and combinations, just as there are no geologically good or evil 
types of rocks. For the student of the social sciences, on the other 
hand, things -even the most elementary of things -in their relations 
with societies undergo a prolongation into values and are good or bad, 
rich or poor, depending upon the human interests involved. To de- 
prive sociology of this human aspect would be to deform it; and all 
this, to quote Maclver's works, "in a vain attempt to ape the so- 
called natural sciences." 

The sociological, anthropological, and historical-social essay has a 
language of its own; it is not obl^;ed to limit itself to an exact ter- 
minology as conceived by other sciences that are not concerned with 
human values. Its language may at times resemble the language of the 
novel or the literary essay. 

I do not know how to answer, without the risk of appearing pe- 
dantic, aU the misrepresentations of my points of view by literary 
critics and journalists, of the '*Right" as of the "Left,** who possess 
as yet little familiarity with the technique, method, and terminology 
of genetic sociology and social history, anthropology, and social psy- 
chology. This terminology has been employed only when strictly 
necessary. I have preferred to address myself to the intelligent reader 
rather than to the initiate. It is to be hoped, however, that with the 
progress of instruction in these branches in my country-the Uni- 
versity of Brazil and the universities of São Paulo, Bahia, Recife, 
Porto Alegre, and Minas Gerais are hastening such progress-diose 
crirics who are none too familiar with the sociological meaning of 
such expressions as "culture," "complex" (sociological or anthropo- 
logical), "social mobility," and "genetic sociology" will acquire a 
little scientific humility in their criticisms. In the of some, one 
wishes this for the sake of their own intellectual and personal reputa- 
tions; in the case of others, for the sake, also, of the ideologies that 
they so emphatically defend. There is no doubt that, with the 

R. C Maclver: CoTmnunity, A Sociological Study (New York, 1928). 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

progress of such instruction, the idea will soon disappear in Brazil 
that sociological or anthropological culture— as necessary for creative 
works as it is essential for critical studies -is something that can 
readily be improvised. 

There have been, meanwhile, not a few intelligent criticisms, 
among them the painstaking and penetrating analysis by Professor 
Almir dc Andrade -and also certain suggestions technically well 
considered, some of which were embodied in the second edition- 
criticisms and suggestions that the author of Casa-Graiide & Senzala 
has received not only from foreign specialists, but also from scholars 
at home, and which are always to be expected in the case of a work as 
daring as this, accomplished in so short a time, a work that undertakes 
to reconstruct and interpret the most intimate aspects of our nation's 
past while endeavoring to probe the racial and, above all, the cultural 
antecedents of Brazilian society, so profoundly agrarian-patriarchal 
in its formation. The truth of the matter is: a degree of boldness, 
above all else, was required for the undertaking of so complex a 
task; and boldness at times may have a renovating and even creative 
effect, but at the cost of numerous imperfections and deficiencies 
such as are wholly avoided by only the most captious of historical and 
scientific miniaturkts. 

Certain criticisms, even among the most authoritative ones, the 
author has received as the differing and eminently to be respected 
opinions of specialists and masters, without for that reason feeling 
obliged to modify his own points of view. This may be snid of the 
observations of Professor Coomaert of the Sorbonne and of Profes- 
sor Martin of Stanford~in articles otherwise very friendly to the 
author— regarding what they considered an excessive preoccupation 
with the sexual elements in the interpretation of some of the most 
characteristic aspects of our social evolution. But these criticisms ap- 
peared before the publication in the English langus^ of the now 
famous Kinsey Reports. Then there were the reservations of Pro- 
fessor Sylvio Rabello-one of the ablest of our specialists in the field 
of pedagogy and social psychology with reflect to the excessive im- 
portance attributed to die formative influence of environment upon 
the Brazilian living within a patriarchal slave-holding economy. 

Some of the most substantial criticisms of Casa-Grande & Senzala 
came from an old-time conscientious investigator of the indigenous 
cultures of northern Brazil: Carlos Estevão de Oliveira, for some 
time director of the Goeldi Museum, who devoted to the second edi- 
tion of this book a long, minute, and at the same time extremely 
sympathetic analysis from the point of view of his favorite studies. 

Preface to the Secoiid English-Language Edition Ixiii 

According to this scholar, the masculine sex among Brazilian In- 
dians -at least, among the tribes of his acquaintance -has not per- 
ceptibly diminished as a result of agricuhural labor, which with them 
is woman's specialty. But it is possible that the tribes known and 
studied by Soihor Estevão de OUveira over a period of twenty years 
had been directly or mdirecdy influenced by European colonization 
and by European patterns of the sexual division of labor. As to the 
interpretation that he suggests, of "sympathetic magic applied to the 
sowing of grain," it impresses me as one of the most lucid to have 
been advanced, diere bong, moreover, no discrepancy between it and 
those patterns of the sexual division of labor which, according to 
8(Mne of die best students of the subject, were followed by the natives 
of Brazil at the time die Portuguese arrived. 

Worthy of consideration also is a suggestion from the same source 
that the **list of fruit trees cultivated [by the natives of Brazil, that 
IS to say] and handed down to us** should include "the guava tree, the 
pupunha tree,^^ the genip tree,** the cacao, and the cashew." The 
areas dominated or influenced by these cultures should be determined 
as soon as possible in order that the sociologist or social historian 
may be able to make use of such data in interpreting and reconstruct- 
ing those facts having to do with the formation of Brazilian society 
which have been most afl^ected by the influence of American Indian 
culture on that of the foreign-comers, and particularly the influence 
exerted upon the culture of the Portuguese colonists who set up 
their patriarchal regime in Brazil as large-scale agriculturists. It is 
these latter who are the object of study in Casa-Grande & Senzala; 
for to this writer, in his work, about the only elements of interest in 
connection with the indigenous and Negro cultures were those ab- 
sorbed by the type of agrarian-patriarchal colonization that is rep- 
resented economically, in the first two centuries of Brazilian life, by 
the sugar plantation and socially by the Big House and the slave hut. 

As to the other objections of Carlos Fstcvão de Oliveira— such as 
what he has to say with regard to the interpretation of the form of 
family organization among tlie aborigines of Brazil, the position of 
woman, that of bisexuals, the possible stimuli resulting from the seg- 

•*The pupunbeira, a tall prickly- 
palm of the geniis Qiàíiebm (Guí/f- 
elfna spedosa Mart,)^ abo known as 

puptmha verde-cmiarela (greenish- 
yellow pupunha), the pupn/iha being 
the fruit of the pupunbeira). (Trans- 

^The jefdpapeiro, a tree of the 

Rubiacea family (Gen, americana 
Lm.). The tree is known m En^ish 
as genip (or genip tree), its fruit as 

genipap. The fruit is "the size of an 
orange, oval, with greenish-white 
rind, dark purple-blue juice, and a 

somewhat acnd fía,ym,**^Standãrd 
Dictionary, (Tnoulator.) 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

regation of men for homosexual practices, the significance of urucú 
painting,^"^ and the Hke-some of these have to do with controverted 
questions of cultural anthropology which still are in flux, while others 
involve the variations to be found between tribes, variations which, 
from the point of view of the influence of the more or less general 
traces of native culture upon the formation of an agrarian-patriarchal 
society in Brazil, render it difficult to separate the representative or 
typical from the exceptional case, the exceptional being often as- 
similated in place of the typical. To undertake to resolve these points 
would have meant a possibly endless discussion between critic and 
author, in which, it is obvious, the former would always have had the 
advantage of his direct, living knowledge of the present specialized 
forms of indigenous culture in northern Brazil. The late director of 
the Goeldi Museum, it seems to me, was under the obligation to treat 
this subject in an essay, one that would have been looked forward to 
with interest, not to say impatience, by those who knew him well 
and knew how assured and accurate a knowledge he possessed of 
Brazilian ethnography. Unfortunately, he died without having writ- 
ten such an essay. 

Another critic raised another controversial question. This had to 
do with the extension of communism— that is to say, of communism 
sodoiogically considered— among American societies. There appears 
to be no doubt that there was a greater tendency in that direction 
than toward individualism, though a fondness for private property 
was not foreign to certain groups, and under forms that at times are 
surprising. This inclination, however, was never strong enough to 
lead them to adapt themselves readily or immediately to the European 
concept of private ownership. 

A subject that is treated in Casa-Grande & Senzala and which Car- 
los EstevSo de Olivcara courageously attacks in the course of his 
patient anatysis is the "clash of European with native culture*' and 
**the effects of the Jesuit catediism upon the Braalian tribes." Carlos 
EstevSo recognizes the considerable importance of this problem: 
'Had the study embraced only these two diemes, the author would 
have given us a worth-while work, in view of the fact that, at least so 
far as I am aware, no one to this day has analyzed them so photo- 
graphically." For the illustrious student of Brazil's narive culture, or, 
better, cultures, "the conquistadores • . . and the Jesuits" were in 

•*The urucú or (in English) ar- It produces the annatto of commerce, 

notto is a small tropical American The Indians used it extensively for 

dye-yielding tree of the Bixaeem or dyeing purposes and body decoration. 

Indian plum famity {Bixa crdlanà), (Tcairaator.) 


Preface to the Second English-Language Edition kv 

fact "the initiators of its decadence" (that is, the decadmoe of those 
cultures) . This is a fact that I emphasized without meaning to assert 
thereby that the Amerindian societies should have been idyllicaliy 
preserved from all Europeanization and, much less, all Christianiza- 
tion. The methods of Europeanization employed by the sugar- 
planters and the bandernmtes and the methods of Ghrisdaiiizatkm 
used by the Jesuits were not always the most imd%ent, the most 
Christian, or the most humane ones. This is true, at least, from the 
point of view of the better use that might have been made of the na- 
tive peoples and their culture in the formation of Brazilian sodecy. 
Brazil owes much to the Jesuits, some of whom are heroic figures who 
will always be associated with the difficult beginnings of civilization 
in the tropical region of the Americas, a fact tlut has been proclaimed 
by some of the major voices in our literature: by Joaquim Nabuco, 
by Eduardo Prado, by Oliveira Lima, by Capistrano hinnelf , who was 
so hard to please in his enthusiasms. It is simply that we must have die 
courage not to be content with a unilateral and piously conventional 
interpretation of Brazil's past, for the voluptuous use of apologists for 
the missionary work of the Society of Jesus. It would be banal to 
repeat here that the life of any institution is full of ups and downs, 
while none has a past that is altogether glorious.*® 

It is precisely this aspect of the analysis that I made, or undertook 
to make, of the work of the Jesuits in Brazil, in one of the chapters of 
Casa-Grande & Senzala ^ which forms the subject of a paper by Father 
J. Alves Correia, a venerable Portuguese missionary who has made a 
special study of the activities and contemporary tendencies of various 
Catholic missions conducted by his countrymen. In his paper, Father 
Alves Correia agrees with the criticism made by the present writer 
of the "exaggerated academicism in the education of the native" by 
the Jesuits; and this leads the erudite historian Father Serafim Leite of 
the Society of Jesus, also a Portuguese, to take up the cudgels in an 

article published in the review Broteria. According- to Father Leite, 

the author of Casa-Grande d^ Senzala is an enemy not only of the 
Society, but, as it appears, of the Church itself: an enemy "cloaked in 
Casa-Grande Senzala and . . . unmasked in Sobrados e Mucam- 

**Eoc]ides da Cunha, in his fanunis 

work Os Sertões (published in Eng- 
lish as Rebellion in the Backlands, 
University of Chicago Press, 1944), 
similarly wrestled with the problem 
of the Jesuits; and it may be of in- 
terest to compare Ficyre's remarks 
on this sobiect in his essay AmaUduie 

de Euclides da Ctmba {CmttempO' 

raneity of Euclides da Cuuba) (Rio 
de Janeiro, 1941). Freyre spealcs of 
Da Cunha's ultimate "reconcihation" 
with the Jesuits— it would be better to 
say vith Jesmc hinocy In Brazil—, 
through his admiradoii for the íyns 
^ure OÍ Anchieta» (Tnnslattkr.) 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

bos.^^^ In this the scholarly cleric, ordinarily so unperturbed, was be- 
ing a bit extreme. It was Father Alves Correia who felt obliged to 
defend the author against the charge of sectarianism, of being preju- 
diced against the Catholic clergy in general and the Society of Jesus 
in particular. He wrote that "so far as sectarianism is concerned," it 
would take "a magnifying glass to discover it" in the descriptions con- 
tained in these two essays -descriptions that he has the kindness to 
describe as "taken from the life"— of the "methods employed by the 
Jesuits in their schools." "To tell the truth," he says, "we do not find 
that Gilberto Freyre is an enemy of the Society of Jesus. He could 
have been more of an enemy than he is; or he could [on the other 
hand] have been a fervent admirer [of the Society], blind to or wor- 
shipping its defects, which are those of an era rather than of the Jesuit 
pedagogues themselves." Meanwhile, Father Serafim's words aroused 
an echo in Brazil among the members of the Jesuit right wing of 
Catholicism, one of whom demanded for Casa-Grande & Senzala the 
extreme punishment of auto-da-fe, insisting that both the book and its 
author be burned. Nor did he mean burned in effigy or in oil portrait; 
he was employing the word in the most realistic sense, an attitude that 
has not met with the approval of the Jesuits of Êmdes (Paris), so 
generous in their treatment of the French translation of this book. 

 word as to the criticism made of this book, among extremely 
courteous references to its author, by the eminent scholar in the field 
of historical research in our country, Professor Aff onso d'E, Taunay: 
to the effect that it is concerned almost exclusively with the northeast 
and neglects the social landscape of the south. But this essay, as it 
happens, is one that deals with genetic sociology rather than with 
history in the conventional sense— though it frequently has recourse 
to historical chronology and even to anecdotal history-and the au- 
thor's task accordingly has been to make a study of the patriarchal 
system based upon a latifundiary and slave-holding monoculture in 
that part of the country where the system found its most character- 
istic and forceful expression. Only in the eighteenth century— whkh 
is studied sociologically, in some of its aspects, in Sobrados e Mu^ 
combos -does the patriarchal family r^ime attain some prominence 
in the Minas lemxm, a prominence dinmiished by the greater power 
of the crown mere and by the influence of the Minas cities, more 
autonomous than those in the north. As for Rio de Janeiro, it was, one 
might say, an exceptional blot-a northeastern blot-upon the south- 

07 Frcyre's Sobrados e Muccnnhos houses and slums." It will shortly ap- 
(São Paulo, 1936) is the sequel to the pear in English, French, Italian, and 
present work. The tide means ''town Spanish. 

Copyrighted material 

Preface to the Second English-Language Edition kvii 

cm landscape; for in São Paulo and other portions of the south it is an 
exception to find large-scale property and monoculture developing to 

any extent. 

To be sure, in nineteenth-century São Paulo the agrarian-patriarchal 
regime was to be revived in a new form, that of a slave-holduig mono- 
culture based not upon sugar, but upon coffee, which, along with the 
advantages offered by the climate, was to permit the develo|mient of 
inunigration to that province from Italy and other Europc^m coun- 
tries, thereby stimulating various tendencies to social transition in 
Brazilian life, including that trend toward a republic which was so 
marked among Paulistas of the second half of the nineteentli century. 
But these more reccqit aspects of the disorganization of the colonial 
patriarchal system in Brazil and of the organization in a certain more 
accentuatedly national direction of economic and family life in our 
country are precisely the subject of a study in the next and final essay 
of the series begun with Casa-Grande & Senzala, to be entitled Ordem 

A word, also, to the Portuguese journalist who felt a trifle offended 
by the comparison, in Casa-Granae & Senzala, of the figure of the 
Lusitanian colonist-whom the author greatly admired -with the Ne- 
gro, the point being that the latter should rather have been included 
among the purely physical elements and resources that contributed to 
the agrarian organization of Brazil— such as horses, oxen, beasts of 
burden. The observation is an interesting one. It happens, however, 
that in sociology and cultural anthropology it is customary to separate 
man from the animals by the capacity peculiar to man (or, at any rate, 
enormously greater in man) of becoming a creator of culture. Upon 
the basis of this criterion— an erroneous one, if you will— it is neces- 
sary to include the Negro with the human element. The author does 
not feel that he is invested with the authority or possessed of the bold- 
ness requisite to undertaking to revolutionize the social sciences in so 
important a respect as this. 

In collecting the data for this book I did not follow a rigorously 
geographical or historical criterion, though I was always faithful to 
the regional one based upon the area in which the historical-social 
formation of Brazilian society sociologically began, with its greatest 
vigor: the Northeast. Within this criterion -which is at once genetic 
and regional— I could not fail to give prominence, at times great 
prominence, to sugar and, as a consequence, to northeastern group- 

*B Ordein e Progresso (Order md Pkognss) is the natioiial motto of BcaziL 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

ings in the development of the patriarchal (agrarian and slave- 
holding) family in our country. The influence of this technique of 
production and of the societies that developed on the basis of it— in 
Maranhão, Bahia, Pernambuco, and Rio de Janeiro -was so strong 
that for a long period sugar gave to Brazilian society, taken as a 
whole and seen simply for what it was, its most characteristic traits, 
by creating the conditions most favorable to economic and social 
stability and organized family life. It was the tw o economies, sugar 
and coffee, that conditioned the development of our agrarian- 
patriarchal system, at least in its essential features; and I believe that 
no serious study of the formation of Brazilian social life can be sepa- 
rated from that system, for it is under its influence or in opposition 
to it that the formation is to be perceived taking place. Such was the 
case with the bandeirante movement, with which, possibly, may be 
associated the fonnatkm, not alone of a society based upon the ex- 
ploitation of gold— in Minas Gerais— but of pastoral groupings that 
to this day are antagonistic, in their interests, dieir style of living, and 
their culture, to thc^ groups of purely agrarian origin whose interests 
were for so long a time economically and politically dominant in 
Brazil. Whence the Brazilian-and not merely the Pemambncan, 
Bahian, or northeastern-character of interpretations based upon ma- 
terial gathered in those centers where an agrarian and patriarchal 
society took shape. Gathered in those centers, to be sure, but without 
any geographic exdusiveness and indifference to the nuu^ginal areas or 
to those areas antagonistic to the sugar and coffee zones: the pastoral, 
the diversified farming, and mining regions. The trips that I made for 
purposes of study and observation through those areas of Brazil which 
are less agrarian in background than the northeast -being wholly pas- 
toral or semi-industrialoed, as are certain neo-Brazilian areas in the 
southern part of the country -have merely confirmed me in the ideas 
and interpretations outlined in this book. The subject is one that I 
propose to treat in greater detail in Ordem e Progresso. 

This book continues to caU forth contradictory criticisms. "He 
reaches no conclusions," some say, repeating the word of die great 
scholar JdSo Ribeiro. "He draws too many conclusions," others sa^. 
Senhor Miguel Reale finds the work cold and, so to speak, lacking m 
soul; but a foreign cridc, while making use (without indicating its 
source) of the hãtorical-socblogica! material presented by me, terms 
the book "emotional" and "impassioned." Even if I were more opti- 
mistic than I am with tegard to my own efforts, I soil would be con- 
tent with the fact that mis book had aroused mental and sentímental 
reactions so diverse in kind. I am also pleased widi the fact that doca- 

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Preface to the Second English-Language Edition Ixix 

ments recently published in Brazil furnish new evidence in favor of 
my suggestions. These documents con firm the sociological fact that 
the Big House complex, considered in its architectonic expression— so 
significant from the historical and social point of view— presents es- 
sentially the same aspect in the oldest agrarian regions of Brazil, 
whether nordiem or sondiem. Diversities of a topographical nature 
or those caused by regional climatic condioons do not alter it with 
respect to the essential human or social ecology involved. The com- 
plcac has its peculiarities in the south and center of tiie country, and 
these call for special study; but everjrthing goes to indicate tnat the 
sociological process operates in practically the same manner as in the 
north in ^ose areas which are less intensely agrarian and latifundiaiy 
-the intensity having reference now to the time factor, now to tne 
spatial one, and again to both. 

Keeping my distance from a so-called edmic determinism, I con- 
tinue to incline toward a cultural and historical interpretation of the 
facts having to do with the social formation of a people as the one 
best corresponding to the complexity of the facts themselves. But a 
cultural interpretation completed by the psychological and, in some 
cases, by the functional one, without any rigidly exclusive tendency 
to substitute a cultural for a racial determinism. 

Preceding recent books published in English, this book— written in 
Portuguese, and published in Rio de Janeiro as long ago as 1933— has 
been, since its appearance, a modest pioneer attempt to add to a social- 
historical approach to the study of the past-present of a half- 
European, half-primitive society and culture a multi-anthropological 
approach: sociological, cultural, functional, ecological, and psycho- 
logical. So psychological that sometimes it is less the strictly psycho- 
logical approach of academic psychologists than that of novelists who 
have found it necessary to add a psychological time to the conven- 
tional chronological one, in novels otherwise historical in their sub- 
srance — as in Balzac's analysis of Frcncli bourgeois society— and 
ultra-historical or intra-historical only in form or dimension -as in 
some of Unamuno's interpretations, through a partly fictional litera- 
ture, of Spanish life and character. 

Perhaps it may be admitted, in a study like this one, where the 
chronologically historical approach had to be completed by the 
sociological-anthropological one, that a psychological time is some- 
times to be made the predominant one for the more vivid presentatioil 
of relations among events and among human beings artificially sepa- 
rated by conventional historical time. For the sociological interpreta- 
tion of the Brazilian social past it means little, ahnost nothing, that m 

Copyrighted matsrial 

Ixx The Masters and the Slaves 

1822 Brazil ceased to be a colony in the purely political sense. Other 
political changes, so prominent in chronological history, are insignifi- 
cant from the same point of view. Hence the greater importance 
given to a sort of psychological-sociological time. 

For the Brazilian past here sought for has been almost exclusively 
the past that the French call histoire inthne and the Spaniards some- 
times describe as iiitra-historia. When the Goncouns wrote of an 
histoire intime that it was a rontan vrai and would eventually become 
la vraie histoire htmaine^ they had a vision of a modem development 
in both history and literature. 

Gilberto Freyre 

Lisbon-Stratford'Berlin-Rio de Janeiro-Recife 

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Tot invaluable assistance in connection irith Brazilianimis I am in- 
debted to Mr, Arthur Coelho of New York City. I must also express 
my obtigatian to Dr. Lewis Hanke^ head of the Hispamc Foundaáon 
cif the library of Congress; to Dr. Robert C, Smith of Sweet Briar 
College, Virginia; to Dr. Paul RusseUy Associate Botará, the United 
States Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C; to Miss Sylvia 
Leão of the Pan American School, Richnond, Virginia; to Dr. Bern- 
bard J, Stem of Columbia University; to Senhor Erico Verissimo^ 
novelist and Idstorian of Brazilian literature; to Dr. Aluísio Napoleão, 
BraziUan cultural attaclsé^ Washington, D. C; to Professor D. Vit- 
tcfim of the Romance Languages Department of the Uwoersky of 
Pennsylvania; to Mr. J. Gordon Leahy of New York City; to Mr. 
Albert Mordell of Philadelphia, and to my son, Mr. Hilary Whitehall 
Putnam. All of these individuals have been most kind in connection 
ivith the labor of research or in helping to clear up obscure points i» 
the text. 



Copyrighted material 


It has not been long since that the primitiveness of the illiterate, of 
the man of little learning, of the uncivilized man, was given a new 
positive value in art, first by Gauguin, then by Picasso. This greater 
value can arise only out of the intuition and imagination of an artist 
in dose touch with his immediate surroundings. 

Modem *'regi<malisms'' are conspicuous for their spontaneous vigor. 
In Brazil, European and Europeanizing commandos, fanning out from 
the big plantation houses, were met by matching creative spon- 
taneities issuing from the slaves' quarters. 

In connection with the regionalism emerging in Brazil during the 
nineteen-twenties, it might be mentioned thai the much traveled 
Blaise Centrars was then in São Paulo, that exalted propaganda center 
for the Semana de Arte, \\ here he w as courted by its champions. But 
after careful examination of the movement, he, so to speak, trans- 
ferred his interest and intellectual esteem from the absolute Brazilian 
modernists and their impatience for introducing European no\'eIties 
into our land, to the regionalists of the Pernambuco capital, although 
these latter were traditionalists and, only in their own special way, 
modernists. As a result, Cendrars, impressed by the originality of the 
book CaohGrande e Senzala [The Masters and tbe Slaves]^ especially in its 
Dionysiac aspects, singled it out as a new way of writing a human 
history, through emphases on everyday occurrences and regional 
peculiarities among common folk, among illiterates, among slaves, in 
their daily life, sex, cookery, and a Christian religion that was more 
Dionysiac than Apollonian. 

Concerning the traditionalist regionalism that l)egan to appear dur- 
ing the twenties, one should emphasize that it anticipated in the 
Occident the actual emergence, in various parts of the world, of 
regionalisms and traditionalisms, or of their resurgence. It signalized 
a Brazilian tendency toward psvchosociocultural pioneering. It was 
also signihcant for an outpouring of Ikazilian works that w ere some- 
thing between scientific and literar\ ; although innovative and even 
revolutionary under various of their cultural aspects, still they served 
to give a positive value, in their presentation of Brazil's development, 
to singularities of manner characteristic of relations between masters 


Copyrighted matsrial 

Ixxiv Author* s Preface to the Paperback Edition 

of the Big 1 louses and slaves from the senzalas. This relationship 
imparted to the Big Houses rehgious, culinary, and sexual spon- 
taneities arising out of the slaves' quarters. 

The recognition of mixed values arising from the slaves' (juarters 
and assimilated by the Big Houses has resulted in the bringing to light 
of hidden values and the rejection of evaluations based on the applica- 
tion of imperialist European criteria, according to which the casas- 
grandes represented an absolute superiority over the senzalas. The 
conditioning of BraziPs sociocultural future upon its ecolog\ , in large 
part tropical, may be said to have favored the senzalas. The mixture 
of races, accompanied by a fecund interpenetration of cultures — Euro- 
pean, Amerindian, Afiro-Negro — ^pointed up the advantages of the 
Big-House-and-slave-quarters complex. Although this situation was 
considered by French Le Bons and Argentine Ingenieroses as totally 
negative, their judgments were reduced to insignificance both by 
in-depth scientific sociological reexamination and by conclusions con- 
curring with that reexamination, independeady arrived at by compe- 
tent foreign observers, men of the stature of the two French Bastides, 
Arbousse and Roger, and Jean Duvignaud, the German Konrad 
Guenther, the Italian Roberto Rossellini, the Englishmen Aldous 
Huxley, Asa Briggs, and Arnold Tovnbee. In the end the Le Bons 
and Ingenieroses served only to confer prestige upon the miscegenetic 
action of the process represented by the interpenetration of opposites 
as found in Brazil. 

The above conclusions \\ ere anticipated in books of applied social 
science, among them the pioneering Casa-Grande e Senzala, a work by 
a Brazilian author whose education in foreign universities had been 
completed by his telluric origin as a native of the tropics of his own 
country. His opinions also appeared in serious studies from a Brazilian 
perspective of social and anthropologically social concepts, such as his 
Problemas Brasileiros de Antropologia [Brazilian Problems in Anthropology] 
and Sociologia^ Introdução ao Estudo dos seus Princípios [Sociology: An 
Introduction to tbe Stud^ nf Its Princ^ks], but above all in that book of 
pioneering par excellence, Casa-Grande e Senzala, 

When one says of the Portuguese member of the trans-European 
expansion that he showed himself to be more Christiano-centric than 
ethnocentric, there is no intention of investing him widi virtues or 
praiseworthy religious attributes and thus recognize in him a depar- 
ture from ethnocentrically imperialist tendencies, that is, tendencies 
amoi^ certain trans-Europeans to consider themsdves ethnocentric 
and, as such, ethnically and culturally superior to non-Europeans. 

Author's Preface to the Paperback Edition Ixxv 

Perhaps he felt that he was more likely to be recognized as a 
member of a prestigious group if he called himself Christian rather 
than Pòrtuguese, because as a Portuguese he felt less secure than 
other Europeans of both his ethnic and cultural superiority. By giving 
himself the title ''Christian*' he would compensate for that insecurity. 
According to the chroniclers, it used to be said that such a Portuguese 
man spoke, not Portuguese, but Christian. He was, it seems, a Euro- 
pean who perceived that his national language lacked recognition for 
cultural values present in other national languages of the trans-Euro- 
pean expansions beginning in the sixteenth centiir\ , such as Spanish, 
French, and English. Thus, w rapping himself in the prestige of the 
title "Christian" by giving thai designation to his style of speech, he 
would be defining himself as (^hristiano-centric rather than ethno- 
centric. This definition of expressing himself in Christian speech 
distinguished him and seryed to confer dignity upon a conduct that 
was more given to miscegenation than that of other Europeans in the 
trans-European expansion. It was as if the accident of speech accen- 
tuated his disparagement of his biocultural group and its identification 
with the practice of biological confratcrnization with colored people. 
His attitude was pohticai, but it also had something about it at once 
ethically and mydiicaUy Christian. 

It must be remembcãred that from remote times Portuguese kings 
and their bishops had begun to entrust to miscegenates of Amerindian 
or Afro-N^ro blood important posts in die cobnial administration 
and in the Catholic hierarchy. Such men received titles of nobility 
like the Dom bestowed upon the Amerindian Brazilian Felipe Camarão 
for his braver)^ during the expulsion of the Dutch from Brazil, and 
they held posts of honor, not only religious but also political, like the 
one conferred upijn the not entirely Aryan Antônio \ ieira in the 
seventeenth century. 

The Big-House-and-slave-quarters complex represents a s\ nibiosis, 
with the slave influencing the master w ithin a patriarchal familial 
system, the Catholic church being annexed after a fashion to that 
complex. And the complex was an expression of private initiative, 
something that caused the Portuguese colonization of Brazil to more 
nearly resemble the English colonization of what was to become the 
United States of North America than the colonization of Spanish 
America conducted by the royal metropolitan power and by theo- 
cratic power. 

The familial complex, of which the Big House in conjunction with 
die slaves* quarters was the expression, included, in its socioeconomic 

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Ixxvi Author's Preface to the Paperback Edition 

power, accretions to its basic role as residence ot the patriarchal 
family — accretions in the form of a church, a bank, a school, and 
centers not only for spiritual assistance but also for social w elfare, not 
only for slaves but also for small farmers and for dependents, the 
latter being a species of poor relations attached to the Big \ louses as, 
so to speak, sociological members of the principal family. This system 
grew out of the most patriarchal institution imaginable, in a Brazil 
with a patriarchal society based on slavery. The institution was the 
compadrio^ a shared paternity, an intimacy between godparents and 
natural parents. With the blessing of the Catholic church, the owners 
of a typical Big House were, by dint of noblesse oblige, god£ftther 
and godmother to the children of small farmers, to the cldldren of 
dep^dents, and, above all, to the slaves' offspring, some of whom 
took the patriarch's family name. To be a compadre of these patriarchs, 
that is, to have them as godparents to one's child, was more than 
an honor; it meant the acquiring of rights to patriarchal protec- 
tion. To be their godchild was to grow up with special rights to such 

For these reasons, not a few sons of slave mothers or fiithers, or 
sons of dependents living in the Big Houses, received, when 
sufficiently intelligent, the same education as the young masters of 
the house. They too were taught by the family priest, were sent to 
Study in schools of higher learning, and w ere favored in their advance- 
ment as professionals by government administrations attentive to re- 
quests by intiuential patriarchs. .Ml this was an extension of the 
patriarchal family's power over the psychosocioculturai whole. 

Thus are explained the accounts of godsons of Afro-Negro origin, 
sons of slave mothers or fathers who, w ith patriarchal support for 
their superior intelligence, graduated with degrees fix>m institutions 
of higher learning. Among these accounts we may single out the 
remarkable example of Teodoro Sampaio, who, though bom of a 
slave mother, attained an eminent position and profound influence in 
the society and culture of nineteenth-century Brazil. Nor did he fail 
to achieve recognition for his superior intdligence; a civil engineer, 
he was a graduate of Rio de Janeiro's Polytechnic School — a difficult 
course— and filled important posts in both the professional and public 
life of Brazil. Hence it may be concluded that die Big-House-slave- 
quarters-chapel system or complex favored, in its own special way, 
the utilization of the supremely gifted sons of slaves for the improve- 
ment of Brazilian culture and the democratization of Brazilian society , 

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Author's Preface to the Paperback Editim Ixxvii 

and not only the suns oi slaves but also the sons of tenants and small 

It is interesting that the dramatist Eugene lonesco, famous for his 
quick wit, noticed the sociologically Christiano-centric spirit present 
in not a few expressions of Brazihan social development. He got this 
idea from reading the book Casa-Grande e Senzala and discussing it 
widi its author. One of lonesco's observations was that almost the 
same thing that had already taken place in such countries of Europe 
as Rumania and Hungary had been repeated in Brazil. For the Latin 
Rumanian, thot^h not for the Slavic Rumanian like himself, Chris- 
tianization, he felt, must have restrained ethnocentric cultural ex- 
cesses, which in the absence of a Christian culturally comprehensive 
Europeanness would have tended to be nationalistic. 

In the Brazilian, Christianization gave rise to a super-European 
consciousness that was above }X)litical state nationalism and found its 
most effective instrument for symbiotic action in the reciprocity func- 
tioning within the Big-l iouse-and-slavc-quarters complex. 

It may perhaps be said that not a few of the eves todav reading The 
Masters and the Slaves are mouths rather than e\'es — mouths repeating 
the words read with the sensuous enjoyment of one who repeats them 
for the pleasure of tasting them, savoring them, almost masticating 
them at times without bothering to completely understand their exact 
scientific meaning. 

Tbe Masters and the Slaves is a book in which the author's scientific 
learning performs die role of servant to his intuition or his musically 
verbal art rather than to a display of merely scientific knowledge. The 
author has read Spencer, read Comte, studied Darwin and evolution. 
He was a pupil of Boas and Giddings at Columbia University, of 
Lucien Febvre in Paris. But he arrived at a point where, like one who 
plays music by ear, his scientific idiom was blended with the language 
of a metascience in large part intuitive and existential. 

Some such thing may have occurred to a certain extent w ith Eu- 
clydes da Cunha. In The Masters and the Slaves, however, it was 
through a kind of musical equivalent that was more Wagnerian than 
classical, consisting of sounds at times discordant rather than quite 
harmonically correct. Its literary music may perhaps be said to be a 
distant relative, so to speak, of Stravinsky's, with a soupçon of Villa- 

For these reasons, the author has felt obliged to emphasize once 
again the standard by which he sought, some years ago, to develop 

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Ixxviii Author's Preface to the Paperback Edition 

his plan for reconstructing and interpreting the Brazilian patriarchal 
society or tutelary tamily. It was his intention to study, in its different 
types and styles of habitation, the reflections of diverse types and 
styles of life and culture as well as expressions and conditions of the 
living together as a familv and the resultant interpenetration and 
synthesization of values. Although synihesization and interpenetra- 
tion did take place under the patriarchal system or organization, it 
was at the cost of its purity and finally of its integrity. 

Within this system there was close communication — not merely 
separation or differentiation — between the Big House and slave quar- 
ters, and only later between the mansions and the shanties of die 
cities. There was synthesis, not just antithesis; affective complement, 
not merely the antagonism of economic diversification. In no other 
way can one explain the growing importance among us of hybrid 
manifestations not only of culture but also of physical types. The 
original system scarcely appears above the ocean of crossbreeding that 
overwhelms it, and within which absolutely pure values of one origin 
or another — European or Amerindian, Lusitanian or African, civi- 
lized or primitive, seignorial or servile— survive only in the form of 
tiny islands every day more insignificant, ethnographic, ethnic, or 
aesthetic curiosities rather than sociological realities. They are floating 
fragments broken away from a disintegrating continent or archipelago 
rather than terra firnia capable of resisting, even in a reduced form, 
the triumphant flood. Out of this sea is emerging a new superficies, 
a new configuration of culture, new forms of society characterized 
principally by human beings of different sex, origin, age, and profes- 
sion, living together as a famils that merits the qualifier ''democratic." 
It is a society characterized by an inceptive generalization in type of 
man and in type of house. I he type is not unique, however, for it 
retains certain individual characteristics of race and class, but it is 
much less differentiated than formerly by extremes of social position 
or situation in the social space. 

In the Brazilian cities of today one rarely finds stately houses 
tenanted only by wealthy individuals or patriarchal families. Instead 
there are many collective habitations, as already mentioned: hotels, 
boardinghouses, hospitals and private sanatoriums, asylums, military 
headquarters, private schools, apartment buildings, and workmen's 
cooperative lodgings. There are a great many average single houses, 
neither very large nor extremely small for the physicosocial space 
they occupy: a middle term between the former town house replete 
with rooms of large and small dimension and the one- and two-room 

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Author's Preface to the Paperback Edition Ixxix 

sliacks that are still abundant in the cities and in the country — abun- 
dant and overflowing w ith occupants. The most noticeable change in 
the Brazilian landscape is the decrease in cit\' mansions, big plantation 
houses, and ancestral estates occupied by individuals or by patri- 
archal families. 

This alteration in architectonic volume and in the space occupied 
by it marks the hnal disintegration of the patriarchy in our society 
and in our society as reorganized on a new basis, although this new 
society is still impregnated with patriarchal survivals. This aspect of 
BrazOian social development is taken up in a subsequent essay, Order 
and Pragrm, dedicated mainly to the analysis of our transition from 
slave labor to free labor. That transition coincided with the abandon- 
ment of the monarchical form of government for the republican, on 
behalf of which Brazilians of Sâo Paulo and other states, and princi- 
pally the positivists of Maranhão, Rio de Janeiro, and Rio Grande do 
Sul, had begun to work actively as far back as 1870. 

I hese republicans, some of them masters of casas-grandes, were 
Brazilians of a most progressive type, but the majorit\ of them would 
have rejected a republic that was incapable of assuring the nation the 
order necessar\ for maierial development of the cities and for 
mechanization of industr\ and farming, forms of progress they ar- 
dently desired for Brazil. Hence, the positivist motto adopted by the 
republic, founded in 1889, would have answered the aspirations of 
these republicans of ours, even ones ideologically far removed from 
Comte*s philosophy and its adherents. It is not without significance 
that, after the founding of the republic, various of its principal 
leaders — some of mixed race but with aristocratic blood, some of 
plebeian origin who had been made aristocratic by means of academic 
instruction or by reason of marriage with the young daughter from a 
Big House or with a town house girl — should have distinguished 
themselves as particularly energetic chieftains in defense of Order. 
Order was now middle class but still patriarchal and constituted the 
security of the Brazilian society of those days. One of these leaders, 
handsome and powerful, the very picture of a highborn Moor, con- 
fronted with unusual force a crov\'d in Rio dc Janeiro which was the 
f»erfect picture of the capoeira, a mass expression of the free Negro's 
hatred and the poor, free mulatto's hatred for the rich white man, the 
native's hatred for the European, the shanty crowd's hatred for those 
who dwelt in fine city houses. That knife-wielding riffraff had distin- 
guished themselves b\ their defense of the throne under the name 
"Black Guard" during the days when the monarchy found itself re- 

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Ixxx Author's Preface to the Paperback Edition 

jected and spurned by so man\ illustrious gentlemen of Big I louse 
and city mansion, of general headquarters and bishop's palace — 
gentlemen disappointed, some with the emperor's abolitionist ex- 
cesses, others w ith his exaggerated patrician or royalist ways. It 
was then that the monarchy, in the person of Isabel, was acclaimed 
**savior** and found sympathy and even dedication among stalwart 
cabras of mingled Afirican, Indian, and white blood, Negroes, and 
scapegrace young mulattoes from the city shanties. Many of these 
were runaway slaves or descendants of runaway slaves and, thouj^ 
despairing of their relations as ''sons*' with ''fathers'* on plantations or 
in other patriarchal establishments, they still felt the need of "fathers** 
or symbolic "mothers'* or ideals that would protect them, if not 
actually in the manner of their n^lectful or mean fathers, at least in 
a mystical or symbolic manner. 

In this regard, it only remains to add the following footnote: Just 
as there has been an increase in medium-size one-storv houses, habi- 
tations of a middle class into w hich manv an old w ealth\ casa-grande 
family had been fragmented and there joined b\ manv a mulatto and 
free Negro who had elevated himself through mechanical skills, in 
like manner the citv mansion, after succeetling the big plantation 
house as the expression of the patriarchal system's domination of the 
Brazilian landscape, w ith the decline or weakening of that domina- 
tion, experienced the degeneration of its former stately residences 
into collective habitations — slum tenements, brothels, boarding- 
houses, hotels, asylums, and the like — or their transformation, with 
complete loss of character, into government ministries, embassies, 
consulates, clubs, newspaper offices, private sanatoriums. Masonic 
lodges, theaters, stores, and so on. 

O>rresponding to the decline of the wealthy individual's pohtical 
power with its seat in a Big House of the most aristocratic, most 
prestigious, or most markedly patriarchal character, was the increas- 
ing public political power lodged in judicial, police, military, or sim- 
ply bureaucratic agencies of the monarchic government and, later, of 
the republican. Not infrequendy these agencies were installed in 
former patriarchal residences as though in the ruins of forts captured 
from a powerful enemy; even in their conquered state these made-over 
ruins were conspicuous for the survival or the look of their former 
power. For example, the Catete Palace and the Itamarati Palace, in 
Rio de Janeiro, even today recall to the eyes of Brazilian and foreigner 
alike the patrician elegance of patriarchal Brazil; so opulent was it, 
especially in the Rio de Janeiro area, that the statesmen of the republic 

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Author's Preface to the Paperback Edition Ixxxi 

of 1889 found in the residences of former barons of the empire better 
palaces in which to install the principal organs of the republican 
government than in the very residences of the former emperors and 
princes. The patriarchal casa-grande in the two signal instances cited 
above impressed the conquering heroes of '89 by the solidity of its 
architectonic nobility. This nobility, adapted to the land and the 
milieu, threw into contrast the badly proportioned, uncouth architec- 
ture of edifices specially built by the republican governments to house 
state offices. 

The same may be said of the edifices erected by the last govern- 
ments of the monarchy; their dignity does not equal that of the 
private mansions built hy barons still of the patriarchal class, a sign 
that the Brazilian patriarchal system succeeded in expressing itself in 
types of private residence which surpassed the architecture of official- 
dom in authenticity, in ecological quahties of adaptation to the milieu 

and domination of the landscape, and even in nobility of construction 
and style. Such buildings demonstrate that the patriarchal system in 
more than one aspect created values that were characteristically Bra- 
zilian as well as characteristically patriarchal, or ''tutelary," as Ihro- 
fessor Zimmermann would say. He rejected the expression ''patri- 
archal'* because it seemed to attribute absolute power to the individual 
patriarch, whereas that powo- resided with the fimiily, involved as it 
was in tutelary functions, rather than with its head. Fatriaidial or 
tutelary, it is certain that the Brazilian family with its centers of 
authority in big plantation houses and city mansions created among 
us an architecture representative or characteristic of its power. 

It follow s, then, that not all enthusiasts of the old-time architecture 
of patriarchal, or tutelary, residences are simple or [)er\ erse amateurs 
of the archaic, clinging with the fond love of the antiquarian to relics 
ot a social system that expressed itself in those houses, w hich w ere at 
times ugly but by the same token sturdy, like the Portuguese mothers 
within. And there are qualities in those houses, as in the women, 
which often compensate for their lack of physical beauty with, for 
example, a hospitable gentleness, an honesty, or a dignity tempered 
by simplicity. 

It is plain that, once the old system expired, its type of residence 
should not be capriciously or arbitrarily perpetuated in a society that 
was becoming collectivist on the one hand and, on the other, indi- 
vidualist in opposition to the private nature of the econ<Hnic system 
or of the patriarchal organization, which was at once individualist and 
communist, given the absorption of the individual in the family and 

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Ixxxii Author's Preface to the Paperback Edition 

the subordination of the state to the nobleman. Nonetheless one must 
not fail to recognize in the Brazilian patriarchal casa-grande a source 
OÍ \aluable suggestions for the architect w ho wishes to create for 
Brazil coUectivist architecture that will also be individualized and» at 
the same time, in conformity with the teaching of the Brazilian experi- 
ence; it should not be inspired by political passion or aesthetic par- 
tisanship, w hich are regularly in conflict with that experience, nor 
should it be created in a vacuum. 

In Brazil, what found its expression in types of residence, which 
harmonized with the land and the milieu, like the Big House or even 
the slave's shanty, was not only an economic system or a familial or 
cultural system; it was also the human being. It was the Brazilian, 
the man of various origins, who had to conquer the hostility of the 
tropics to those higher forms of Christian and Mussulman civilization 
brought from Portugal to the American colony, not only by Euro- 
peans but also, to a much lesser degree, by Africans. These higher 
forms of civilization, it is true, here turned soft or corrupt. But it is 
extraordinary how man\ of them got spread, though in a weakened 
and impure state, over a sjiace physically so extensive and socially so 
arid as the Brazil of the earlv davs of colonization. 

From that dissemination of higher forms of civilization in so vast a 
tropical land resulted the first great modern civilization in the tropics: 
the Brazilian. And tremendous as was the work of the missionaries — 
Carmelite, Benedictine, Jesuit, Franciscan — and of agents of the 
Crown or the government, the truth is, the aforesaid dissemination 
seems to have been brought about principally by the Big Houses and 
their chapels, and only to a lesser extent by the r^ular convents 
or cathedrals, or by the palaces and other establishments belonging 
to the king and, after Brazil's independence, to His Majesty the 

Recife Gilberto Freyre 


Copyrighted material 


A, READER who opens Tbe Masters and the Slaves for the first time in 
1986 might well be puzzled by the book. This **essay" (as its author 

called it) on the development of Brazilian civilization is in fact an 
unashamedly digressive treatise on the elements that went to make up 
Brazilian colonial society and the Brazilian national character. Its 
nearly five hundred pages are divided into five chapters, dealing re- 
spectively with the Portuguese colonization of Brazil, with the In- 
dians, the Portuguese, and the blacks (who get two chapters). Even 
so the book ends abruptly and idiosv ncraticallv with a l(jng list of 
diseases acquired by black slaves in colonial Brazilian households, 
giving the impression that the author is by no means talked out on 
his topic. The impression is quite correct. Tbe Masters and tbe Slaves 
was the first major treatise to set out the central theme of Gilberto 
Freyre's lifework, namely to describe and account for the nature of 
Portuguese civilization in the tropics, particularly Brazil. He returns 
to this theme explicitly in his later books, Tbe Mansions and tbe Sbanties 
and Order and Progress, and it is implicit in much of his other work. 
Yet Tbe Masters and tbe Slaves, for all its idiosyncrasies, is his best- 
known book and the one that established his reputation. 

It was first published well over fifty years ago at a time when 
Gilberto Freyre had just returned to Brazil after completing his 
studies in the United States. There he had studied aiuhrupology w ith 
Franz Boas, among other people, at (>)Iumbia University. Boas was 
then leading the fight against theories of racial causation in anthropol- 
ogy and marshaling the evidence necessary to combat racism not only 
in the academy but bevond it. \\'ithin anthropology it was still quite 
common to explain social and cultural phenomena by the racial 
characteristics of the populations among w hom they were found. The 
proponents of such biosocial view s defended them fiercely against the 
^unscientific'' theories of Boas and his disciples, who insisted that 
cultural phenomena be explained in cultural terms. The struggle 
within anthropology was bitter, but for Boas it was anything but 
academic. He was acutely conscious of European anti-Semitism and 
of the intimate Unk between racism and the rising tide of fascism, so 
that in combatii^ racial determinism he saw himself as using the 
science of anthropology for a noble purpose, in the service of a higher 
tolerance that was essential to liberal democracy. 


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Ixxxiv Introduction to the Paperback Edition 

Ciilbcrto FrcN rc used his Boasian training to rcanaU /.c his native 
Brazil and particuhirl\ to revise the explanations that were conven- 
tionally advanced to account for its backwardness. These pointed to 
miscegenation as the primary factor. According to the prev'ailing 
theories of the time it w as believed that racially mixed populations 
were physically and culturally inferior to unmixed ones (or at least to 
unmixed white ones) and that the racial mingling that had so charac- 
terized the history of Brazil was therefore the cause of its problems. 
Gilberto Freyre took direct aim at this thesis in The Mastm and the 
Slaves, where many of his digressions are for the purpose of marshal- 
ing evidence to show that physical, cultural, or psychological dis- 
abilities that had previously been attributed to racial mixture could 
in fact be explained in terms of malnutrition, disease, ot the social 
pathology of the great slave plantations. At the same time he argued 
eloquently that misc^enation (and particularly the cultural mixing 
that went with it) was not the shame and encumbrance of Brazil but, 
on the contrary, its great strength. It was through this genius for 
physical and cultural synthesis that the Pòrtuguese had succeeded in 
the difficult task of creating a civilization in the tropics. 

It is one of the little ironies of history that this thesis came out in 
Tbe Musters and the Slaves in 1933, the v ery \'ear that 1 1 it ler came to 
power in (íermany. Although racist theory, and certainh racist prac- 
tice, seemed to be in the ascenilanev in Kurope, this w as a propitious 
moment for Gilberto Frcyre's argument in Brazil. That coimtry had 
passed through a period of political turmoil in the i92()s, occasioned 
by a grow ing self-con.sciousness and a grow ing aw areness of the na- 
tion's shortcomings, coupled w ith an ardent and spreading desire to 
see them eliminated through modernization. Ihe Masters and the Slaves 
appeared therefore at a time of national debate concerning the causes 
of and the cures for the country's ills, and it changed the terms of 
that debate. The shift in scientific thinking about race and culture 
was already evident in the writings of certain Brazilian scholars, 
notably Roquette-Pinto, but it was Gilberto Freyre*s book that started 
Brazilians thinking that they might have something to be proud rather 
than ashamed of in their history. 

Not that the book was universally acclaimed in Brazil. Gilberto 
Freyre*s intimate portrait of the Portuguese in the great houses of 
colonial Brazil was not particularly flattering. He described them as 
lascivious, domineering, and s) philitic, as much given to harboring 
criminals as to maintaining priests, both of whom were treated like 

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Introduction to the Paperback Edition Ixxxv 

£imily retainers. In particular, his detailed discussions of family life 
in colonial Brazil and of the unbridled lusts of the masters, growing 
up as they did in the tropics, surrounded by available slaves, titillated 
some readers and shoeked many. Freyre's txiok \\ as attacked in some 
quarters as a caricature and even denounced as pornography. 

In spite of this response, its main arguments vyere tjuickly accepted. 
Brazilians discoyered that modern scientific evidence showed that no 
particular social or ph\ sical harm came from racial mixture. On the 
other hand, a great deal of good could result from cultural synthesis. 
Moreover, Brazil needed no longer to be ashamed of its colonial past, 
because the slaveholding, patriarchal society that Gilberto Freyre 
described could be seen in historical perspective to have had some 
virtues. Compared with the other imperialists of the time the Por- 
tuguese appeared as more tolerant of other races and cultures, more 
ready to adopt their customs and even adapt to their ways. Even 
slavery under the Portuguese, while hardly pleasant (and Freyre goes 
into gruesome detail over some of its nastier aspects), was a milder 
form of bondage than that experienced by those who labored under 
the yoke of die Ai^lo-Saxons or suffered at the hands of the 

The reasons for this were complex. The Portuguese had lived since 
time immemorial al the margins of the w arring ciyilizations of (chris- 
tian Europe and Islamic North Africa. This experience had made 
them a cosmopolitan and practical people, given to compromise. They 
had moreover experienced centuries of Moorish rule, so that they did 
not instinctively look dow n on dark-skinned people, even when the 
tables were turned and the Moorish populations of Christian Portugal 
were reduced to helot status after the reconquest. In any event the 
Portuguese taste for Moorish beauties, implanted when the Moors 
were their overlords, endured through centuries of warfare and 
coexistence and induced later generations of colonists to mate en- 
thusiastically with the dark, loi^-haired Indians of Brazil and later 
with the even darker Africans they brought over to work the plan- 
tations. There was practicality as well as pleasure in this policy. 
Metropolitan Portugal had a tiny population (not much more than a 
million by some accounts) at the time when it embarked on its impe- 
rial adventures. The Portuguese could seize a worldwide empire, if 
that meant no more than defending their trading monopolies along 
the coasts of Africa and Asia, but they could not people it from the 
mother country. In Brazil, therefore, where the Portuguese estab- 

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Ixxxvi Introduction to the Paperback Edition 

lishcd settlements on a large scale, there was a chronic shortage of 
colonists, and particularly of Poriuguesc women. Miscegenation was 
thus both a pleasure and a solution. 

As for slaver\ , Frevre suggested that its horrors w ere mitigated in 
Brazil hv the inriuence of the Catholic church and the effects of 
Portuguese law . I hi Portuguese legislated savagely against heretics 
but were prepared to accept all races on equal terms provided that 
they professed Catholicism. Furthermore, the church insisted that 
slaves had souls and thus protected their right to certain minimal 
considerations — baptism, marriage, the integrity of their families, and 
treatment as human beings (albeit enslaved ones) — rather than as 
chattels or mere pieces of property. Slaves also received some protec- 
tion under the \xw, since Portuguese law, unlike the codes of the 
northern European slaving nations, derived from Roman law, which 
recognized the status of the slave and guaranteed certain minimal 
rights to persons occupying it. 

Brazilians thus discovered with pleasant surprise that they need no 
longer be ashamed of their mestizo heritage or of their colonial past. 
On the contrary, they had no kyenda negra (the record of cruelties of 
which the Spaniards stood accused in their empire) to live dow^i. 
Insteail thev could take some C(Mntort from the fact that their ancestors 
were now reported to have been the least cruel of the European 
slavers and could take positive [)ride in the tact that thev were sup- 
posed to have acted in this w ay out of an absence of racial prejudice 
and a w iliingness to live and let live w here other peoples and cultures 
were concerned. 

It is small wonder that 1 he Masters and the Slaves w as also enthusias- 
tical]\ received w hen it first appeared in Knglish in 1946. Its publica- 
tion in the United States, two years after the appearance of Gunnar 
Myrdal's An American Dilemma^ once again had the effect of telling a 
troubled public something that it wanted to hear. At a time when the 
horrors of World War II were still fresh in people's minds and the 
international conscience was still trying to come to terms with the 
ghastly evidence of the Nazi holocaust against the Jews, the treatment 
of blacks in the United States was anomalous in the extreme. Myrdal 
had exhaustively analyzed this American dilemma, showing how the 
United States, which had taken a leading part in the war against 
racism and totalitarianism in Europe, still tolerated institutionalized 
racism at home which mocked the ideals it had fought for and under- 
mined its democratic pretensions. By contrast Gilberto Freyre's book 
showed that things did not have to be this way. Brazil is, after all, a 

Introduction to the Paperback Edition Ixxxvii 

country that shares many of the characteristics of the United States. 
It is equally krge. It had relatively small Indian fK)pulations which 
have been exterminated or marginalized over the centuries. It brought 
in large numbers of black slaves to work on its plantations. Indeed, 
its northeastern region is in many ways analagous to the American 
South. Yet slavery was not so cruel there, miscegenation was encour- 
aged, and racial prejudice was nonexistent (or muted). No wonder 
Manuel Cardozo wrote that The Masters and the Slaves had an important 
lesson to teach all Americans. The lesson was one of racial and 
cultural tolerance. This soon became part of the Brazilian national 
self-image as well as something that the Portuguese of the mother 
country could take pride in; and people beyond the Lusitanian world 
took heart from the thought that the cancer of racial prejudice could 
be eliminated even in societies where whiles once lorded it over 
enslaved blacks. 

The Masters and the Slaves is also a veritable treasure chest of Bra/ilian 
folklore. In it Gilberto Freyre expatiates lovingly on foods, plants, 
dances, clothes, charms, folktales, hygienic habits, architecture, aph- 
rodisiacs, and a host of other topics, tracing them back to their Indian, 
African, and Portuguese origins in such a way as to give Brazilian 
readers a fresh appreciation of their own culture. At the same time 
its focus on patriarchal institutions and their connection with the 
Brazilian family gave Brazilians new insights into their own domestic 
lives and the formation of their own personalities. It was a book that 
offered Brazilians a fresh understanding of themselves, of their culture 
and its roots. Now, half a century later, it has to be admitted that 
some of the most influential theses of The Masters and the Slaves no 
longer seem so convincing. Consider the lack of racial prejudice 
among the Portuguese, the comparative mildness of slavery in Brazil, 
and the consequent harmoniousness of race relations in that country. 
A comparative examination of the historical evidence does not supp>ort 
the conclusion that tlie Portuguese were markedly less racially preju- 
dice than the people of other imperialist nations. Moreover, they 
systematically enslaved blacks for centuries and came to hold that 
they were justifiably enslavable, which indicates some prejudice 
against them. 

1 he comparative mildness of Brazilian slavery would therefore 
have to depend on the presumed influence of the church and the law, 
but these are equally dubious. It is not clear why the church should 
have been more effective in protecting slaves in Brazil than in the 
Spanish colonies, or indeed why the teaching of the church or the 

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Ixxxviii Introduction to the Paperback Edition 

letter of the law shoukl have benefited slaves very much in a country 
where, as Kreyre showed, real power was exercised bv slave ow ners 
on w horn the church depended and who interpreted or ignored the 
laws as the\ saw fit. 

Nor is it clear that race relations in Brazil since the days of slavery 
have been as harmonious as some of I rcN re's suggestions might lead 
one to expect. It seems that those writers who paint a rosy picture of 
the racial situation in Brazil are usually comparing it implicitly or 
explicitly with what is happening elsewhere. They tend therefore to 
be using Brazil as an object lesson rather than as an object of analysis. 
On the other hand, sociological studies of race relations in Brazil have 
shown that racial stereotypes in that country are unfavorable to blacks 
and that blacks are kept in the lowest socioeconomic strata precisely 
because they are black. 

The other major theme of The Masters and the Slaves — the analysis 
(one might almost say the psychoanalysis) of the character of the 
Portuguese and the Brazilians — is also critidzable. It is not helped by 
the style of the book which has been so widely praised and which 
makes it so readable. Freyre has all along insisted that the sociological, 
anthropological, and historicosocial essay should have a language of 
its own and that it is not obliged to limit itself to the exact ter- 
minologies of oilier sciences that are not concerned with human 
values. This meant in practice that his analyses of national character 
were literar\ and evocative but also imprecise to a fault. He makes 
generalizations about the Portuguese ai all times and places. I k- speaks 
of the "\ egetable contractility" of the Indians and makes the surprising 
and implausible assertion that Brazil is still struggling to find a "point 
of fixation" between Amerindian communism and the European no- 
tion of private property. He constructs a black ethos out of scraps of 
information taken from the days of slavery and juxtaposed with ob- 
servations of modem blacks. In fact, he is curiously lax about the 
normal scholarly procedures, be they historical, anthropological, or 

It is also noteworthy that Gilberto Freyre, who became one of the 
leading iigiu^ m the regionalist movement of Brazil's northeast, pays 
little attention to regional differences when he generalizes about 
Brazil. As a result, he presents a view of BrazU from a northeastern 
perspective, one that downplays the differences in the composition of 
the population and the local ethos to be found elsewhere, notably in 
the south. Consequently there is a tendency in his writings to focus 
on the seigneurial side of Brazil, which has led critics to attack them 


Introduction to the Paperback Edition Ixxxix 

as conservative. At the same time his enthusiasm for the accompUsh- 
ments of the Portuguese in the tropics led his work to be used to 
defend the pretensions of Portuguese impverialism, at the time when 
Portugal was trying to hang onto its last colonies and justifying this 
policy by its peculiar genius for establishing tropical civilizations. 

The most serious of all these criticisms are the scholarly ones. 
Gilberto Freyre is an extraordinarily gifted writer with an uncanny 
knack for evoking the spirit of the colonial northeast and for delving 
into Brazilian society and the Brazflian psyche. Yet if his arguments 
are to be taken seriously, they have to be couched in terms that are 
specific as well as evocative so that they can be evaluated in terms of 
scholarship dealing with particular times and places. 

Nc\ crtheless these reservations hardlv applv to The Masters and the 
Slaves. It was a pioneering book and dcscrvedl\ acclaimed as such. It 
contains a rich harvest of ideas and, if some of them have to be 
modified in the light of subsequent work, it is equally true that others 
are as important now as thev were \\ hen Gilberto Freyre sat dow n 
to write. Race relations in Brazil may not be as harmonious as 
apologists have claimed, and the existence of racial prejudice in that 
country is easy to document, yet there is something different and 
remarkable about the way in which Brazilians deal \\ ith the issue. 
Formal racial discrimination has never been sanctioned either by law 
or by public opinion and informal discrimination is neither automatic 
nor irrevocable. There is a certain flexibility within the system which 
can be seen as admirable or inadequate, depending on what the stan- 
dard of comparison is. This flexibility may not be derived from any 
Pòrtuguese tradition of tolerance, but it is a characteristic feature of 
all spheres of Brazilian social life and it is to Gilberto Fre3rre's credit 
that he was the first writer to attempt an extended analysis of it. 

Similarly his analysis of the patriarchal organization of Brazilian 
society and of its effects on family life and on ihe personalities of the 
people raised in such a system is more than nicrcK evocative. It 
suggests a series of important and interrelated truths about Brazilian 
history and contemporary Brazilian society which still repay further 
investigation. It is surely hyperbole to suggest, as Gilberto Freyre 
did, that the social history of the Big House is the intimate history 
of practically every Brazilian. Yet his provocative phrase suggests 
connections among the plantation systems of colonial Brazil, the re- 
gional political bosses that ran the country in the time of the Old 
Republic, and the patron client systems of more recent times. It 
suggests furthermore that there is a strain of authoritarianism in Bra- 

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xc Introduction to the Paperback Edition 

zilian life and in the Brazilian family which we would do well to 
recognize and to understand. 

Today it is, in a sense, immaterial whether the arguments put 
forward in The Masters and the Slaves are right or wrong. What is clear 
is that the book marked a watershed in Brazilian social thought . 
After its appearance, discussions of Brazilian history and Brazilian 
society could never be the same again, and that is the measure of its 

David H. P. Maybury-Lewis 

Copy I IL)I kCU 1 1 i UlCI lal 





WHEN, in 1532, the economic and civil orgiinization of Brazilian 
society was effected/ the Portuguese already for an entire century 
had been in contact with the tropics and had demonstrated, in India 
and in Africa, their aptitude for living in those regions. The definitive 
proof of this aptitude is to be found in the change of direction that 
Portuguese colonization underwent m São Vicente and in Pernam- 
buco, from an easy-going mercantile way of life to an agricultural 
existence, with colonial society in Brazil now organized upon a more 
solid basis and under more stable conditions than it had been in India 
or on the African plantations. The basis was agriculture, and the con- 
ditions were a patriarchal stability of family life; the regulanzatioa 
of labor by means of slavery; and the imioa of the Portugoese male 
ivith the Indian woman, who was thus incorporated into the economic 
and social culture of the invader. 

In tropical America there was formed a society agrarian in struc- 
ture, slave-holding in its technique of economic exploitation, and 
hybrid in composition, with an admixture of the Indian and later o£ 
the Negro. This was a society that in its evolution was proceceed less 
by a consciousness of race, which was practically non-enstent in the 
cosmopolitan and plastic-minded Portuguese, than it was by a re- 
ligious exduáveness given expression in a system of social and political 
prophylaxis; less by official action than by the arm and sword of the 

^ "IMMb Alonw de Sonsa-* . . see mnds today on the spot where the 

1^ m Jammy, I5}2,jdie fine substan- founder set foot upon the shore/*— 

tial Portuguese settlement at São Vir F. A. Kirkpatrick: Latin America: A 

cente, near the present port of Santos. Brief History (New York: The Mac- 

This event, the real birth of Brazil, is millan Company^ 1939)1 p* 35* (TraiVr 

commemorated by a monument which iator. ) 


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4 The Masters and the Slaves 

individual. All this, however, was subordinated to a spirit of political, 
economic, and juridical realism that here as in Portugal,^ from the 
first century on, was the decisive element in the forming of the na- 
tion. What we had in our country was great landowning and autono- 
mous families, lords of the plantation, with an altar and a chaplain in 
the house and Indians armed with bow and arrow or Negroes armed 
with muskets at their command; and from their seats in the municipal 
council chamber these masters of the earth and of the slaves that tilled 
it always spoke up boldly to the representatives of the crown, while 
through the liberal-toned voices of their sons who were priests or 
doctors of the law they cried out against every species of abuse on the 
part of the Metropolis and of Mother Church itself. In this they were 
quite different from the rich criollos* and learned bachelors of 
Spanish America, who for so long were inert in the dominant shadow 
of the cathedrals and the palaces of the viceroys, or wfao^ when gath- 
ered in cabildos" * did little more than serve as a laughingstock for 
the all-powerful lords of the realm. 

The singular predisposition of the Portuguese to the hybrid, slave- 
e3q[>loiting colonization of the tropics is to be explained in large part 
by the ethnic or, better, the cultural past of a people existing inde- 
terminately between Europe and Africa and belonging uncompro- 
misingly to neither one nor the other of the two continents; with the 
African influence seething beneath the European and giving a diarp 
relish to sexual life, to alimentation, and to religion; with Moorish or 
Negro blood running diroughout a great light-skinned mulatto popu- 
lation, when it is not the predominant strain, in regions that to this 
day are inhabited by a dark-dcinned people;* and with the hot and 

2 This was true of Portugal, as wc 
shall see further on, buc it came about 
there through the maritnne bourgeoi- 
sie, which soon devdoped into the 
dominant force, rather than through 
the will or action of the rural nobility. 
The latter, following the death of D. 
Fernando, in 1383, came to favor the 
reanioa of Pbitugal widi Gasdie, 
against which the bourgeoisie rose up, 
sdecting as the occujwnt of the throne 
the Master of Avis. The followers of 
the Master of Avis, so Antonio Sergio 
tells us (A Sketch of the History of 
Portugal, Lisbon, 1928), were "in the 
minority but they had the favor . • • 
or the money of the middle class." 

[The work by Antonio Sérgio is an 

English version, by Constantino José 
dos Santos, of his Bosquejo da História 
de Portugal (Lisbon, 1923). (Tranda- 

^ Creoles, in the sense of one of 
Spanish descent bom and reared in ttie 
colonies. (Translator.) 

the town councils {cabildos) 
. . • exercised, each over a wide area, 
administrative and even, in some de- 
gree, legislative authorit\\"— Kirlqpat- 
rick. op. cit., p. 23. (Translator.) 

^ In Beira Baixa are to be found in 
abundance *1ocalizations of a small 
dolichocephalic race of the Mugem 
type," just as in Alentejo there is a 
predominance of "tall statures, possi- 
bly due to the influence of a meso* 

The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 5 

oleous air of Africa mitigating the Germanic harshness of institutions 
and cultural forms, corrupting the doctrinal and moral rigidity of the 
medieval Church, drawing the bones from Christianity, feudalism, 
Gothic architecture, canonic discipline, Visigodi law, the Latiii 
tnngoe, and the very character of the people. It was Europe reigninff 
S^80venm>^T»sAfnc.that|ov^ "^""^"^ 

Correcting up to a certain point the great inflneoce exerted by an 
enervating climate, the always tense and vibrant conditions of himiaa 
contact between Europe and Africa acted upon tlie Portuguese char- 
acter, rendering it more firm. There might be a constant state of war- 
fare (which, incidentally, does not by any means ezdude miscegena* 
don or asexual attraction between the two races^ mudi less an inter- 
course between the two cultures),* but the victtw would find ieha»- 
rion from the intensity of his military exertions by falling back upon 
riie agricultural and industrial labor of war captives, the enslavement 
or semi-enslavement of the vanquished. Hegemonies and states of 
servitude, these, which were never perpetuated, but which tended 
always to alternate,^ as in the incident of the bells of Santiago de 
Compostela: the iMoors had had them borne to the mosque of Córdoba 
on the backs of Christians, and the latter, centuries later, had them 
returned to G alicia on the backs of Moors. 

As to what is looked upon as the autochthonous base of a popula- 
tion that is so shifting a one, it is to be found in a persistent mass of 
dark-brown dolichocephalic individuals^ whose color Arabian and 

oqihalic Arabic xacei** while in Al- 
garve as in other sections of the littoral 
there are to be encountered numerous 
representatives of a "Semito-Phceai- 
dan type, of medhim scacore."— Men- 
des GonSa: Of Crhnmotot portu- 
gfieset (Portuguese Crirninals) (Lis- 
bon, 1914). See also Fonseca Cardoso 
on "Portuguese Anthropology" in 
Notas sobre Portugal (Notes on Por- 
tugal) (Usbofi, 1908). In the Manici- 
paUty of Alcaoer do Sol mulatto fam- 
ilies are numerous, according to Leite 
de Vasconcellos, cited by Mendes 
Corrêa: Os Povos primitivos da Lusi^ 
toma (Tbe Prhmthe Peoples of Lusi- 
tânia) (Porto, 1924). 

• Rafael Altamira, in his Filosofia de 
la Historia y Teoria de la Civilización 
(Madrid, 1915), observes that recipro- 
cal influences operate "between enemy 
peoples, sepazated by hatreds,** and he 

cites the example of the Moslems and 
the Christians, "who in spite of their 
wars continue to influence each other 
to a high degree." 

^Freeman stresses "the general law 
bf which, in almost all penods, eidier 
tne masters of ^muh have borne rule 
in Africa or the masters of Africa have 
borne rule in Spain."— E. A. Freeman: 
Historical Geography of Europe 
(London, 1882). Bat it is above all in 
Portugal that tliis ateetnation of rule 
between the continents, with a con- 
stant adjustment and readjustment of 
cultural values and racial preponder- 
ance, is to be observed. 

8 This, according to the ecaniomet* 
ric and osteometric researches of Paula 
e Oliveira. Two other Portuguese an- 
thropologists, SUva Bastos and Fonseca 
Cardoso, have encountered in the 
fflffMitllilWMIf KBghMK of fiaifft Alttf 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

even Negro Africa have more than once come to enliven with traces 
of the mulatto and the black as they overflowed large portions of the 
peninsula— it was as if they felt this people to be their own by remote 
affinities, merely grown a trifle paler, that is all, and as if they did not 
wish to see the stock obhterated by superimposed Nordic layers or 
transmuted by a series of Europeanizing cultures: all that invasion of 
Celts, Germans, Romans, Normans, the Anglo-Scandinavian, the 
H, Europieus L., feudalism, Christianity, Roman law, monogamy— it 
all suffered a restricdonr or refraction in a Portugal influenced by 
Africa, conditioned by the African climate, and undermined by the 
sensual mysddsm of Islanu 

"It is in vain that one would look for a unified physical type^ ' 
Count Hermann Keyserling recently observed, in speaking of Por- 
ti^^al. What he did note was elements as diverse and opposed to one 
another as could be, "individuals with an air of the Scandinavian about 
them and Negroid types" hving together in what impressed him as 
being a "state of profound unity." "Race here does not pla^ a decisive 
role," concludes this astute observer.* Previously, Alexandre Her- 
culano had described Mozarabic society as consisting of an "inde« 
terminate popularion in the midst of two contending groups (die 
Nazarenes and the Mohammedans), half-Christian, half-Saracen, with 
relarives and friends in both gioims, and having sympathies with both 
of them on the grounds of belief and customs.*' ^ 

This portrait óf historic Portugal as drawn by Herculano núght pos- 
sibly be extended to the prehistoric and proto-historic eras, which are 
shown by archsology and anthropology to have been quite as vague 
and indeterminate in character as the historical epoch. Before the 
Arabs and the Berbers: the Capsitanians, the libyo-Phoenidans, the 
most remote of African elements. The H, taganus,^ Semitic and 
Negro, or Nq[roid, waves breaking against those from the north. 

Trás-os- Montes, and Beira Baixa, "in 
a state of relative purity, representa- 
tives of the dolichocephalic race of 
Mugem (Beaunes-Chaudes type) who 
■coostitiice,'^ ' Wiy9 Mc&dcs CSoirea, **tlie 
anthropological base of the Portuguese 
people." See Mendes Corrêa: Or 
Crhninosos portugueses, and Fonseca 
Cardoso, loc. cit. See also the paper 
by Costa Feffdn: Capaàté du 
crâne chez les portugais^ Bulletms et 
Mémoires de la Société iVAnthropolo- 
gie de PariSj Série V, Vol. IV; and 
Ferra? de Macedo: Bosquejos ae 

Antropologia Criminal (Outlines of 
Criininal Anthropology) (Lisbon, 

* Count Hennann Keyserling: "Por- 
tugal** ^translated £roin the German 

by Herta Oppenheimer and Osório 
de Oliveira), m Descobrimento^ No. 
2 (Lisbon, 193 1 ). 

Alexandre Herculano: História 
de Portugal (History of Portugal) 
(Lisbon, 1853). 

" Mendes Corrêa; Or Pa%fOt prhm^ 
twos da.-Lusitama* 

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The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 7 

In its ethnic and cultural indetennmateness between Europe and 
Africa Portugal appears to have been always the same as other por* 
tions of the peninsula. A species of bi-^ntinentalism that, in a popu- 
ktíon so vague and ill defined, corresponds to bisezuality in the 
individual. It would be difficult to imagine a people more fluctuating 
than the Portuguese, the feeble balance of antagonisms being reflected 
in everything that pertains to thtoi, conferring upon them an easy and 
relaxed flexibility that is at times disturbed by grievous hesitations,^ 
along with a special wealth of aptitudes that are frequently discrepant 
and hard to reconcile for the purpose of a useful expression or practi- 
cal initiative. 

Ferraz de Macedo, whom his patriotically sensitive fellow country- 
men will not pardon for the unpleasant character of some of his just 
conclusions, amid a number that arc grossly exaggerated, in under- 
taking to define the normal type of Portuguese is brought face to 
face with the basic difficulty: the absence of a definite dynamic type. 
What he encountered was customs, aspirations, interests, tempera- 
ments, vices, and virtuc^s of the most varied sort and of diverse origins 
—ethnic origins, he would say; cultural would perhaps be more 
scientifically exact. Among others, he discovered the following w idely 
varying traits: "violence in sexual relations" and a "taste for erotic 
stories," "high spirits, frankness, loyalty," little of individual initiative, 
a "vibrant patriotism," "improvidence," "intelligence," "fatalism," 
and "an aptitude for skillful imitation." 

The astonishment he felt at the wealth of contradictions in the 
Portuguese character was given superb expression by the novelist Eça 
de Queiroz. His Gonçalo, in The Illustrious House of Ratmres^^ is 
more than a synthesis of the fidalgo; it is a synthesis of the Portuguese 
of any class or condition. Whether one thinks of Ceuta, of India, or 
of the discovery and colonization of Brazil, the Portuguese has ever 
been, like Gonçalo Ramires, "full of big plans and enthusiasms that 
end by going up in smoke," yet hard and persistent "when he attacfaes 

IS This Is that incspacity for form- 
ing quick resolutions which Theó- 
philo Braga holds responsible for the 
"lack of initiative" on the part of the 
Fòitiigue8e.^O Fovo Português (Tbe 
Portuguese People) (Lisbon, 1885). 

^Ferraz de Macedo, op. cit. 

"Eça de Queiroz: A ilustre Casa 
de Ramires (Lisbon). The opinion ex- 
pressed here is that of Antônio, Ar- 
royo, writing 00 "Th» Portuguese 

People," in Notas sobre PortUg/d 

(Notes on Fortuç^al) (Lisbon, 1908). 
Meanwhile, in the pages of Eça de 
Queiroz, following the description of 
Gonçalo, we find diis passage: 

"Taken by and large, the good widl 
the bad, do you kmiw wluc he ve* 
minds me of?" 



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The Masters and the Slaves 

himself to an idea." His is "an imagination that carries him away . . . 
leading him to exaggerate to the point of lying," while at the same 
time he is possessed of "a practical mind, always attentive to reality 
and the useful." He exhibits "vanity" and "scruples touching his 
honor," he has a "taste for decking himself out in pomp and finery" 
that occasionally makes him ridiculous, but he is also capable of a 
great "simplicity." He is at once melancholy and "talkative, sociable"; 
he is generous, negligent, a scatterbrain in business matters, lively and 
easy-going when it comes to "understanding things." Always waiting 
for "some miracle, for some Golden Fleece chat will solve all his dif- 
ficulties," he "lacks confidence in himself, is cowardly, shrinking, 
until one day he decides to show himself a hera" ^ These are op- 
pofiite^tending extremes of introversion and extroversion, represent- 
ing, as we would say in scientific language, the alternations of syntony 
and schizophrenia. 

Considered as a whole, the Portuguese character gives us, above all 
else, the impression of being 'Vague, unprecise," in the opinion of the 
English critic and historian Aubrey Bell; and it is this lade of predse- 
ness that permits the Portuguese to unite within himself so many con- 
trasts that are impossible of adjustment in the hard and angular 
Castilian, whose aspect is more definitdy Gothic and European.^ The 
Portuguese character, Bell goes on to say, is like a river úiat flows 
along very cahnly and then of a sudden hurls itsdf over waterfalb. 
It is capable of passing from 'fatalism'* to "outbursts of heroic effort;*' 
from ''apathy" to "bursts of energy in private and revolutions in pub- 
lic life," from "docility" to "outbreaks of harshness and arrogance"; 
it is a character that is "indifferent yet with fugitive enthusiasms;" 
one marked by a "love of progress and change," one that exhibits sud- 
den spurts and, in the intvvals between impulses, delights in a 
voluptuous indolence that is very Oriental, in nostalgic longings, 
romantic ballads, zodhusperenae. "Mystical and poetical" the Portu- 
guese still are, according to BeQ (die Englishman who, after Bedc* 

^'^ £ça de Queiroz, op. cit. The au- 
dm rncntiOM odwr d ufactc riitici» 

do not know on what k k 
Wddo Frank bases his opinicm when 

he writes: "The Portuguese is more 
European than the Spaniard; he pos- 
sesses a Semitic lineage tliat is w eaker, 
a Goduc lineage that is stronger.**— 
"La Selva," in Sur, No. i (BnoKM 
Aires, 193 1 ). I believe that the exact 
opposite is the case: that the Portu- 

guese, being more cosmopolitan than 
the ^Kmiaid, is probably the less 
Godiic and the mooe Semitic, the ktt 
European and the mon A&ican of 

the two; in any case, less definitely 
the one thing or the other. The more 
vague and unprecise as an expression 
of the oootuentil Eniopem cfaanc" 
ter. The more exaȣuiopeaiL The 
more Atlantic* 

Copyriyi iicu I : i ulCI lal 

The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 9 

ford, has best sensed and understood the people and the life of Por> 
tugal), 'Sirith intervals of intense utilitarianism . . . falling from idle 
dreams to a keen xdish for immediate profit, from the heights of 
rapture to depdis of melancholy- and suicidal despair,'* combining 
**yuúty vnúx . • * pessimism" and ''indolence i^th love of sport and 
adventure." " 

Within this antecedent factor of a general nature— the bi-continen- 
talism or, better, the dualism of culture and of race-there are other, 
subordinate factors that call for our special attenticm. One of these is 
the presence among the elements that united to form the Portuguese 
nation of individuals of Semitic origin, or stock,^^ individuals en- 
dowed with a mobility, a plasticity, and adaptability social as well as 
physical that are easily to be made out in the Portuguese navigator and 
cosmopolitan of the fifteenth century." Hereditarily predisposed to 

IV Aubrey F. G. Bell: Pcrtugfll ef 
the Portuguese (London, 1915). This 

author, whose observations on the 
lyrical element in the Portuguese 
character coincide with those of Una- 
mimo (Por Tserras de Portugal y 
EtpaSa) and more recent essayists, 
stresses other contrasts. 

[Freyre uses the English word. 

Fonseca Cardoso (op. cit.) verifies 
anthropologically the presence of the 
SemitD-Phoenician element in the pop- 
ulations of present-day Portugal, and 
Professor Mendes Corrêa, emphasiz- 
ing the ethnogenic role of the Jews in 
die fonmtiaii of Portuguese society, 
states that it was already a factor of 
great importance in the time of the 
Visigodis.— /íafíT e Nacionalidade 
(Race and Nationality) (Porto, 19 19). 
From the point of view of social his- 
tory, the definitive study of the Isra- 
elite infiltration into Portugal is that 
by J. Lúcio de Azevedo: História dos 
Cristãos-Novos Porttdç^ueses (History 
of Portuguese New-Christians) (Lis- 
bon, 191 5). 

»D. G. Dalgado, in his stady The 
Climate of Portugal (Lisbon, 1914), 
lays emphasis on the fact that the 
Portuguese "acclimatize themselves in 
various parts of the world better than 
almost all the other Eniopeaa races.** 

Possibly— and this Is the opinion of 
many persons as gathered by Dalgado 

—the explanation lies in "the great 
admixture of the people of the coun- 
try with the Semitic race." Emile Bé- 
ringert in his Studies of the Climate 
ma Mortality in the Capital of Per- 
nambuco (translated by Manuel Du- 
arte Pereira, Pernambuco, 1891), 
states that "the Ponuguese race ap- 
pears to be endowed with a tempera- 
ment that pennits k to adapt nself 
more easily dian other races to cli- 
mates that are different from that of 
the mother countr)'. This quality is to 
be attributed not only to the crossing 
of the Pcntiigoese with the Israelites 
who had found domicile in Portogal 
after their eroulsion and who pos- 
sessed a notable aptitude for acclima- 
tization; it is to be attributed also to 
the persisting influence of Negro 
blood, which was widely di£Fused m 
Pòrtugal during the period when, in 
our own conntn% the slave trade was 
flourishing." Writing of ''Das Juden- 
twn und die Anjdnge der fnodemen 
KoUmisation,** m Das bolUbidisebe 
Kolonialreicb in Brasilien (Godia, 
1921), E. Hermann Watjen stresses 
the point that the strong feeling 
of tne Dutch against the Jews 
in Pernambuco (which practically 
amoonted to anti-Semidsm) was m 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

a life in the rropics by a long tropical habitat, it was the Semitic ele- 
ment, mobile and adaptable as no other, that was to confer upon the 
Portuguese colonizer of Brazil some of the chief physical and psychic 
conditions for success and for resistance -including that economic 
realism which from an early date tended to correct the excesses of 
the military and religious spirit in the formation of Brazilian society. 

This mobility was one of the secrets of the Portuguese victory. 
Without it, it is not to be explained how a country that was practi- 
cally uninhabited,^ with a population that was numerically insig^ 
nificant as a result of all the epidemics, famines, and especially wars 
that had afflicted the peninsula in the Middle Ages, should have suc- 
ceeded virilely besprinkling ynúk what wa$ left of its blood and 
culture populations so diverse and at so great a distance from one 
another: in Asia, in Africa, in America, and in the numerous islands 
and archipelagoes. The scarcity of man-powet was made up for by 
the Portuguese through mobility and misdbility, by dominadng 
enormous spaces and, wherever they mk[ht settle, in Africa or in 
America, taking wives and begetting oil^pring with a procreative 
fervor that was due as much to violent instincts on the part of the in* 

part due to die fact that die braditts 

acclimated themselves with an aston- 
ishing facility, whereas it was ex- 
tremely diâicult for the Flemish to 
adapt dionsdves to die life of die 

20 It is impossible to state definitely 
what was the size of the reduced pop- 
ulation of Portugal in the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries. Historians are 
not agreed on the point. RdicUo Silva 
thinks that in the fifteenth century it 
possiblv^ did not exceed 1,010,000.— 
Meinória sobre a População e .í^^n- 
cultura em Portugal desde a Funda- 
ção da Monarquia até iS6s {Memoir 
on the Vopulãtion and Agriculture m 
Portugal from the Founding of the 
Monarchy to iS6s) (Lisbon, 1868), 
Two writers closer to the era in ques- 
tion who may be consulted on this 
subject are: Manuet de Severim de 
Fáru: Notícias de Portugal (Tidings 
of Portugal) (Lisbon, 1655); and Du- 
arte Nunes de Leão: Descripção Geral 
do Reino de Portugal (General De^ 

scription of the Realm of Portugfd) 
(16 1 o). Among the moderns, see the 
figures given by Adrien Balbi: Essai 
statistique sur le Portugal (Paris, 
1822); Gama Barros: Histária da 
Administração Pública em Portugal 
nos Séculos XV a XVI (History of 
Public Adjmnistration in Portugal in 
the Fifteenth and Sixtee?ith Centuries) 
(Lisbon, 1896); Costa Lobo: A Histd- 
ria da Sociedade efft Portugal no 
Século XV {History of Portuguese 
Society in the Fifteenth Century) 
(Lisbon, 1904); Oliveira Martins: A 
História de Portugal (History of Por- 
tugal) (Porto, 1882). See alao J. L6- 
ciode Azevedo on ''Economic Organ- 
ization" in História de Portugal, 27, 
II; and J. J. SJoares de Barros: "Mem- 
oirs on the Causes of the Differences 
in the Population of Portugal at Dif- 
ferent Periods of the Portuguese Mon- 
archy," in Memórias Económicas da 
Academia Real das Ciências (and edi- 
tion, Lisbon, 1885). 

Copyrighted material 

The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 


dividual as it was to a calculated policy stimulated by the State for 
ob\ i()us economic and political reasons. 

Individuals of worth, warriors, administrators, technicians, were 
shifted about by the colonial administiation in Lisbon like pieces on 
a backgammon board: from Asia to America and from there to Africa^ 
depending upon the exigencies of the moment or of the region. To 
Duarte Coelho, grown rich from his stay in India, John III intrusts 
the new capitânia of Pernambuco. His sons, trained in fighting the 
American Indians, are summoned to the more difficult wars in Africa. 
From Madeira technicians in the manufacture of sugar are sent to the 
plantations of northern Brazil. Ships employed in trade with the 
Indies are made use of for commerce with the American colony. 
From Africa whole narions, almost, of Negroes are transported for 
agricultural labor in Brazil. An astounding mobili^. An imperial 
domain achieved by an all but ridiculous number of Europeans run- 
ning from one end to another of the known world as in a formidable 
game of puss-in-the-comer.^ 

As to their miscibility, no colonizing people in modem times has 
exceeded or so much as equaled the Portuguese in this regard. From 
their £rst contact with women of color, they mingled with them and 
procreated mestizo sons; and the result was that a few thousand daring 
males succeeded in establishing themselves firmly in possession of ft 
vast territory and were able to compete with great and numerous 
peoples in the extension of their colonial domain and in the efficiency 
of their colonizing activity. Miscibility rather than mobility was the 
process by which the Portuguese made up for their deficiency in 
human mass or volume in the large-scale colonization of extensive 
areas. For this they had been prepared by the intimate terms of social 
and sexual intercourse on which they had lived with the colored 
races that had invaded their peninsula or w crc close neighbors to it, 
one of which, of the Mohammedan faith, was technically more highly 
skilled and possessed an intellectual and artistic culture superior to 
that of the blond Christians.-^ 

"^If the Portuguese were able to 
achieve so great a mobility, this was 

owing to the near perfection (consid- 
ering the era) which the technique of 
maritime transport had attained in 
that oountry. Perfecrioo, and an abun- 
dance of vessels. "In compensation 
for the scant human material," notes 
C Malheiro Dias» "Portugal possessed 

as did no odier nation in the first 
decades of the sixteenth century abun- 
dant means of maritime transport."— 
História da Colonização Portuf^uesa 
do Brasil {History of the Portuguese 
CdojmatUm of Braail), Introduction, 
Vol. I (Lisbon, 1924). 

22 Roy Nash, in The Conquest of 
Brazil (New York, 1926), stresses the 

Copyriyi iicu I : i ulCI lal 


The Masters and the Slaves 

Long contact with the Saracens had left with the Portuguese the 
idealized figure of the "enchanted Moorish woman," a charming type, 
brown-skinned, black-eyed,^^ enveloped in sexual mysticism, roseate 
in hue,^** and always engaged in combing out her hair or bathing in 
rivers or in the waters of haunted fountains; and the Brazilian 
colonizers were to encounter practically a counterpart of this type in 
the naked Indian women with their loose-flowing hair. These latter 
also had dark tresses and dark eyes and bodies painted red,^^ and, like 
the Moorish Nereids, were extravagantly fond of a river bath to re- 
fresh thdr ardent nudity, and were fond, too, of combing their hair.^ 

fact that the Brazilian colonizer, be- 
fore «cercing an imperúl sway over 
colored races, had in his own turn 
experienced the domination of a 
dark-skinned people superior to the 
Hispano-Goths in organization and 
in technique. "Under such circum- 
scanoes,** writes Nash, **k would be 
deemed an honor for die white to 
marry or mate with the governing 
class, the brown man, instead of the 
reverse." Ruediger Bilden ("Brazil, 
Laboratory of CiviUzatiofi," in the 
Natíon, New York, 1929) likewise 
emphasizes the fact that the relations 
of the Portuguese with colored peo- 
ples had been begun under circum- 
stances unf avorabfe to the wfatees. He 
is ref etring, obviovudy, to the histori- 
cal phase of the matter. 

2^ Luiz Chaves: Lendas de Portugal 
{Legends of Portugal) (Porto, 1924). 

**"It is red . . . that the Portu- 
guese sees in everything diat is mar- 
velous, from the romantic garments 
of the Enchanted Moorish Women. 
. . Luiz Chaves: Paginas Folcló- 
ricas {Pages jro?n Folklore) (Lisbon, 

25 To the "Enchanted Moorish 
Women" in Portugal, as Leits de Vas- 
concellos points out, is ascribed "the 
role of divinity of the waters."— 
Tradições Populares de Portugal 
(Popular TraditUms of Portugai) 
(Porto, 1882). According to die stud- 
ies of this eminent investigator and 
those of Consigliere Pedroso in As 
Mouras Encantadas {The Enchanted 

Moorish Women) and Luiz Chaves 
in Lendas de Portugal, the belief was 
common among the people that these 

creatures put in an appearance almost 
always by the side of fountains and 
were to be seen combing their hair, 
sometimes with "golden combs." 
There is similarly a common belief to 
the effect that the Alooridi women 
not only went clad in roseate gar- 
ments but were in the habit of draw- 
ing near to those who showed them 
a 'red kerchief* or ''something red." 
(Leite de VasoonceUos, op. cit.) AU 
of these circumstances would appear 
to confirm the assumption that these 
women were an expression of sexual 
or erode mysticism, a species of colt 
of the coloied woman or of diedudcy 
Venus among the Portuguese. 

26 Among the natives of Brazil red 
was perhaps the erotic color par eX" 
eellence, in addition to its mystic and 
prophylactic significance. On dussub- 
ect, which I shall have more to say 
ater on; see the study by Professor 
Rafael Karsten: The Civilization of 
the South American Indians (New 
York, 1920). 

^"^ Speaking of the Indian women of 
Brazil, Ives d'Evreux {Voyage au 
Nord duBrésil) notes that "they often 
combed their hair." As to the fre- 
quency with which they bathed, this 
is stressed by piacdcal^ all the ob- 
servers of native customs in the six- 
teenth and seventeenth centuries — 
among others, Pero Vaz de Caminha, 
companion of Pedro Alvarez C^bral« 

Copyrighted material 

The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil i } 

What was more, they were fat like the Moorish women. Only, they 
were a little less coy and for some trinket or odier or a bit of broken 
minor would give themselves, with legs spread far apart^ to the 
**car(ttbaSy** who were so gluttonous for a woman. 

In opposition to die legend of the "enchanted Moorish woman," al- 
though it never attained the same prestige, there evolved that ۋ die 
"Moorish hag," representing, it may be, an oudet for die blonde 
woman's sexual jealousy toward her colored sister. Then, there were 
outbreaks of religious hatred, with the blond Christians from the 
north pitted against the dark-skinned infidels, a hatred that was later 
to result in the idealization throughout Europe of the blond type as 
identified with angelic and divine personages, to the detriment of the 
brunet type, which was associated with evil and fallen angels, with 
the wicked, and with traitors.^^ One thing we know is that in the 
fifteenth century, when ambassadors were sent by the Republic of 
Venice to the two Spains, bearing greetings to King Philip II, the 
envoys noted that in Portugal certain women of the upper classes 
were in the habit of dyeing their hair a "blond color," while both 
there and in Spain a number of them "painted their faces a white and 
red tint" by way of "rendering their skin, which is a trifle swarthy— 
which is, indeed, quite swarthy— more fair and rosy, being persuaded 
that all swarthy-skinned women are ugly." 

Meanwhile, it may be stated that the brown-skinned woman was 
preferred by the Portuguese for purposes of love, at least for purposes 
of physical love. The fashions of the blonde woman— limited, for 
that matter, to the upper classes-were the reflection of influences 
coming from abroad rather than a genuine expression of the national 
taste. With reference to Brazil, as an old saying has it: ''White woman 
for marriage, mulatto woman for f-, Negro woman for work," ®* a 
saying in which, alongside the social convention of the superiority of 
the white woman and the inferiority of the black, is to be discerned 

in ft letter written May i, 1500, to be 
fomid in Manuel Ayres de Casal: 
Chorographia Brasilica (2nd edition, 
Rio de Janeiro, 1833), Vol. I, p. 10. 

'^Term applied by the Indians to 
Europeans. Caraibn oommonly refets 
to the linguistic stock to which many 
Brazilian tribes belonged: the Caribs, 
or first Indians to be discovered by 
the Spanish, found in the West Indies, 
Central America, and the northern 
part of Soitth America. (Translator.) 

Madison Grant: The Passing of 

the Great Race (New York, 191 6). 

" Viageiti a Portugal dos Cavaleiros 
Tro7n e Lippmnanr ("Voyage to Por- 
tugal of the Cavaliers Trom and Pip- 
pomani), translated by Alexantue 
Herculano, in Opusemos (Lisboii, 

31 This adage is reported by H. 
Handelmann in his História do Brasil 
(translation, Rio, 1931)* 

Copyrighted material 

14 The Masters and the Slaves 

a sexual preference for the mulatto.^^ Moreover, in our national 
lyricism there is no tendency more clearly revealed than one toward 
a glorification of the mulatto woman, the cabocla or Indian woman, 
the brown-skin or brunette type, celebrated for the beauty of her 
eyes, the wliiteness of her teeth, for her wiles and languishmcnts and 
witching ways, far more than are the "pale virgins" and the "blonde 
damsels." These latter, it is true, appear here and there in a sonnet or 
popular song {modinha) of the eighteenth or the nineteenth ceatury» 
but they do not stand aut as the others do. 

Another circumstance or condition that favored the Portuguese as 
much as did misdbility and mobility in the conquest of the land and 
die domination of the tropical peoples was their acdimatability. With 
respecr to physical conditions of soil and temperature, Portugal is 
Africa rather than Europe. The so-called "Portuguese climate" of 
Martonne, unique in Europe, is one that approximates die African. 
Thus, the Portuguese was predisposed by his own mesology to a 
victorious encounter with the tropics; his removal to the torrid regions 
of America was not to bring with it the grave disturbances associated 
with adaptation nor the profound difficulties of acclimatization that 
were experienced by colonizers coming from cold climates. 

While Gregory may insist upon denying that the tropeai climate 
per se has a tradency to produce in the north European die efiFects of 
defeneration, and while it may be recalled that EOdngton in 1922 
found in the Dutch colony 0/ Kissav, founded in 1783, conditions 

•*See Gilberto Freyre: Sobrados e 
Mueambot (1936). See also D<»udd 
Çieison: Negroes in Brazil (1941). 
Pierson (pp. 172-3), quoting the ad- 
age cited here, speaks of "the myth 
of the sexual potency of the hybrid," 
and observes that "the sexual attrac- 
tion which the nratatto male exerted 
upon daughters of rich and influen- 
tial European families led quite often 
to the elopement or, occasionally 
and increasingly, to marriage with 
parental consent." See abo what he has 
to tay (pp. 136-7) of the "morena/' 
or brown-skinned type, as the "ideal 
type" of femininity at Bahia. ("The 
morena may or may not have African 
blood. But at least in Bahia this cate- 
gory includes many individuals of par- 
tial African descent.") "The morena 
has the reputation of being more de- 
sirable than lighter Brazilian women; 

she is commonly described as 'more 
ardent (passionate), 'more adstrmg" 
ente* (clinging).*' The discingiushed 
Brazilian anthropologist Arthur Ra- 
mos (letter quoted by Pierson) admits 
that "the charms of the morena exert 
a profound sexual attraction" and that 
the preference for her ''has a searaal 
basis In the Freudian sense," but points 
out diat the attitude in question grew 
out of the enthusiasm and sentimental- 
ism of the abolition campaign," and 
adds: "The morena «tp re sses m a sym- 
oolic way the union of the two races 
—the black and the white— and the 
absence of (caste) prejudice." (Pier- 
son, op. cit., p. 137.) In general, see in 
Fieison úm chapceiR on "Race Mix- 
ture and the Color Line" and 'Inter- 
marriage." (Translator.) 

J. W. Gregory: The Menace of 
Color (Philadelphia, 1925). 

CopviiyikCJ 1 1 i UlCI lal 

The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 1 5 

that were satisfactory as regards health and prosperity, and with no 
"obvious evidence of physical degeneration" among the fair-featured 
colonists,'^'* there is on the other hand a large mass ot evidence that 
would seem to favor the opposite point of view, to the effect that the 
Nordic in the tropics shows a low^ degree of acclimatability or none at 
all. Professor Oliveira Vianna not long ago, brushing aside with ex- 
treme partiality findings such as those of Elkington and Gregor)% to 
whom he does not even refer, proceeded to bring together the testi- 
mony of some of the best modem specialists in the fields of climatol" 
ogy and anthropo-geography— men like Taylor, Glenn Trewartha, 
Himtmgton, and Karl Sapper-by way of contradicting the asserted 
capacity of Nordics to adapt themselves to tropical climates. The 
Brazilian sociologist quotes Sapper's forceful opinion with regard to 
the colonizing activities of north Europeans in the tropical zone: 
"The north Europeans on the tropical highlands have never succeeded 
in setting up anything more than temporary establishments. They have 
attempted to organize in those regions a permanent society based upon 
agriculture, with the colonist living by his own manual labor; but in 
all these efforts they have failed." ^ But of the anthropologists, it is 
Taylor,^ perhaps, whose conclusions most forcefully and with pres- 
ent-day pertinence contradict those of Gregory. Phor to the studies 
made by Taylor and Huntii^ton in anthropo-geography and cultural 
andiropology and those of Dexter in climatology, Benjamin Kidd, in 
speaking of die acclimatization of north Europeans in the tropics, had 
observed that all the experiences of this sort had been vain and futile 
attempts, foredoomed to failure."^ And Mayo Smith, from the point 
of view of statistics applied to sociology, concludes that, while our 
statistics are not sufficiently exact to incÚcate that it is impossible for 
the European permanently to acclimate himself in the tropics, they 
show this to be extremely difficult."* 

^* Quatrefages had previously men- 
tioned a number of notable cases of 
acclimatability: of the French in Cor- 
sica, of the fugitives from the Edict of 
Nantes m Cape Colony. And Hintze, 
in a Stody made of the descendants of 
white settlers in the island of Sabá, 
colonized in 1640, a pure-blooded pop- 
ulation, without mestizos, found no 
effects of degeneration. (A. Balfour: 
'fSojonmers in the Tropics," the Lãn» 
cet, içaj. Vol I, p. 1329.) But no case 
is so impressive as that of the Dutch in 
Kissav, cited by Gregory. 

35 Karl Sapper, in Oliveira Vianna: 
Raça e Assimilação (Race and Assim- 
ilation) (São Paulo, 1932). 

^ Griffith Taylor: Environment and 
Race (Oxford, 19x6). 

87 Benjamin Kidd: The Control of 
the Tropics (London, 1898). 

Mavo Smith: Statistics and Soci- 
ology (New York, 1907). A friend 
calls attentioa to the lescáches of A* 
Ozório de Almeida on *'the basal me- 
tabolism of tropical man of the white 
race," an inquiry the first results of 
which were published in 1919, in the 

Copyrighted material 


The Masters and the Slaves 

Over against this apparent incapacity of the Nordics is the fact that 
the Portuguese have displayed so notable an aptitude for acclimating 
themselves in the tropical regions. Certain it is that, owing to a much 
greater degree of miscibility than other Europeans possess, the colonial 
societies of Portuguese origin have all been hybrid, some of them more 
so, others less. In Brazil, at São Paulo as at Pernambuco— the two great 
foci of creative energy in the first centuries of colonization, the 
Paulistas operating in a horizontal, the Pernambucans in a vertical 
direcdon '^-the society that was capable of such notable undertakings 

Jottmal de physiologte et de pathol- 
ogie generate. In ten white residents 
of Rio de Janeiro Oz6rio found that 
their basal metabolism was inferior to 
European and American standards. 
The same thing was later found to be 
true in the case of Negroes, also resi- 
dents of Rio. Upon the basis of these 
researches the noted BrazSian scientist 
considers ''diis reduction as a basic fea- 
ture of acclimatization in hot coun- 
tries,*' believing that "acclimatization 
consists essentially in a slow and pro- 
gressive modification of the basal me- 
tabolism to the point of fiantion in a 
value compatible with the new climatic 
conditions in which the individual 
finds himself." "The theory of accli- 
matization of A. Ozorio de Almeida," 
writes O. B. de Couto e Silva, '^BnIl 
dear up many points that until now 
have been wholly obscure. Thus, it ex- 
plains the inferiority of the European 
in his struggle with the tropical cli- 
mate.** —See the thesis hy O. B. de 
Couto e SOva: Sóbre a Lei de Bubner- 
Richet (On Rubner-Richefs Law) 
(Rio, 1926). The subject is one that 
has been notably enriched these last 
few years with scientific papers and 

^The terms horizontal and vertieal 

are not here employed in the pate and 
restricted sociological sense that is at- 
tributed to them in the recent book by 
Professor PSririm Soroldn, Sociid Mo~ 
bility (New York, 1927). In 

of the vertical activity of the Pernam- 
bucans, I have reference not so much 
to the change of economic activ- 

it^^ followed by social and political 
changes, in accordance with Sorokin's 
concept, as to die regional ooncemra- 
tioa of effort in the establishment of 
sugar-raising and the sugar industry, 
the consolidation of a slave-holding and 
agrarian society, and the expulsion of 
the Dutch, who disturbed this effort 
and tfaisprooesiof forming an aristoc- 
racy. This is in contrast to the activity 
of the Paulistas, or rather, as Sorokin 
would say, the horizontal mobility of 

the slave-hunters and gold-seekers, 
the founders of die be^bnd catde- 

ranches, and the missionaries. It may 
be noted, however, that in the special 
sense of Sorokin's terminology, Bra- 
zilian society was mobile in both a 
horizontal and a vertical direction— 
in die changes, at times abrupt, diat 
occurred, especially in the south, in 
the position of the individual in the 
economic and social scale. This phe- 
nomenon is expressed by the old pro- 
verb: Tadier a tavern-keeper, son a 
gendeman, grandson a beggar.** The 
truth is that in Brazil, even where col- 
onization was the most aristocratic in 
character, as in Pernambuco, the patri- 
archal ^stem was never absolute, nor 
coold it be with "the more or less 
general custom of parceling out inher- 
itances and estates," to which Svlvio 
Romero alludes in a letter to E. Dem- 
olins in Provocações e Debates (Po- 
Utmes tmd Debates) (Porto, 1916). 
Primogeniture was the «cceptíon, as 
in the case of the Paes Barreto family, 
at Cabo, in Pernambuco; such cases 
were rare. 

Copyrighted material 

The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 1 7 

as the bandeiras, the catechizing of the natives, the founding and con- 
solidating of tropical agriculture, and the wars against the French in 
Maranhão and against the Dutch in Pernambuco was one that was 
constituted with a small number of white women and a broad and pro- 
found admixture of native blood. In view of this, it becomes difficult 
in the case of the Portuguese to distinguish between acclimatability 
on the part of the white colonizer-whose own ethnic purity is so 
gready in doubt, while his European quality is a convendonal as^ 
sumption rather than genuine— and the capacity of the mestizo who 
has been formed from the earliest times mrough a union of the un- 
scrupulous foreign-comer, lacking in race consciousness, with wMen 
of vigorous native stock. 

In any event, it is a known fact that the Portuguese triumphed 
where other Europeans failed; and the first modem society formed in 
the tropics with national characteristics and qualities of permanence 
was one of Portuguese origin. These were qualities that in Brazil 
came early in stead of late as in the tropical possessions of the English, 
the French, and the Dutch. 

Other Europeans, those pure wliite, dolichocephalic inhabitants of 
a cold climate, upon first contact with equatorial America would 
succumb or would lose their colonizing energy, their moral tension, 
physical health itself. This was true of the most rigid of them, such as 
the Puritan colonizers of Old Providence, who, made of the same 
fiber as the New England pioneers, upon the tropical island became 
soft, flabby, and dissolute."*'^ 

The results were no different in the case of the British loyalists 
who emigrated from Georgia and other new states of the American 
Union for the Bahama Islands -hardened Englishmen whom the 
tropical climate in less than a hundred years turned into *'poor white 
trash." The same thing probably would have happened to the 
French Calvinists who in the sixteenth century very proudly and 
triumphantly sought to establish in Brazil a colony thnt should be ex- 
clusively white, and who retired from the scene without leaving any 
traces of their colonizing activities— unless it was traces on the sands 
of the shore or on die reefs where the more persistent of Villegaig- 
non*s companions were to founder before they definitely abandoned 
the Brazilian coast.^ 

^On the Puritans in the tropics, see Climate (New Haven, 1915). 

A. P. Newton: The Colonizing Ac- It was on one of these reefs near 

tivities of the English Puritans (New Olinda that a Frenchman set down the 

Ibven, 1914). bitter observation preserved for us by 

41 E. Huntington: CmUssatíon and Sebastião da Rocha Pitta: "Le monde 

Copyrighted material 


The Masters and the Sleeves 

Nor should we forget that the French who since 17 15 have been 
established in the islands of Reunion and Mauritius are today obvi- 
ously inferior in energy and efficiency to those of the ârst genera- 

Not three or four, but two generations were sufficient to enervate 
the Anglo-Americans who set themselves up in Hawaii." And Semple 
reminds us that the researches carried out in 1900 by the International 
Harvester Company show a diminishment of German energy in 
southern Brazil, which, as it happens, is not a tropical but a sub- 

This was not true of the Portuguese colonist. Thanks to all the 
fortunate predisposidons of race, mesology, and culture of which I 
have spoken, he not only succeeded in overcoming those conditions 
of climate and soil that were unfavorable to the settlement of Euro- 
peans in the tropics; he also, through unions with colored women, 
made up for the extremely small number of whites available for the 
task of colonization. Through intercourse with the Indian or the 
Negro woman the colonizer propagated a vigorous and ductile mestizo 
population that was still more adaptable than he himself to the 
tropical climate. The lack of man-power from which he suffered 
more than any other colonist and which compelled him to immediate 
miscegenation-against which, moreover, he had no racial scruptes 
and but few religious prejudices^— was for the Portuguese an ad- 
vantage in the conquest and colonization of the tr«n>ics. An advantage 
so as his better soda!, if not his biological, adaptation was con- 

Semple denies to the movements of European peoples in the tropical 
regions of Asia, Australia, Africa, and the Americas, and that of 
Americans in the Philippines^ the character of a genuine ethnic ez- 

vãdepimnpif* fi^). See Rodm Pinas 
História da America Portuguesa (His- 
tory of Portugriese A?T7erica) (Lisbon, 
1730). With regard to the activity of 
the French in Brazil in the sixteenth 
century, read the book by Paul Gaf- 
farel: His to ire du Brésil françm mi 
seiziètne Steele (Paris, 1878). 

C. Keller: Aiadagascar, Aíaiíritius 
and Other East African Islands (Lon- 
don, 1901). 

«*£Uen Chnrchin Semple: Influ- 
ences of Geographic Ennw^ffwient 

(New York, 191 1). 
^ Semple, op. cit Gregoiy, on the 

other hand, sees the German ookmisti 
settled in southern Brazil since 1847 

as proving the acclimatability of Eu- 
ropeans in the tropics. (J. W. Greg- 
ory, op. cic.) On this general subject, 
see A. G. Price: White Settlers in the 
Tropics (New York, 1939). 

Donald Pierson (op. cit., p. 113): 
"Even the church came to recognize 
de juras marriage, if consummated by 
sexual intercourse.** Freyre, later on, 
has something to say of these de juras 
ceremonies. On the general attitude 
of the Church and the Jesuits, see 
Pierson, pp. 115, 11 7- 18. (Translator.) 


The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 19 

pansioQ; as she sees it, down to this day European and Anglo-Ameri- 
can colonization of the tropics has been a matter of economic 
exploitation or political domination: *^ colonization of the tjrpc 
represented by the 76,000 Englishmen who with gloved hands, so to 
speak, and |Mreserved from more intimate contact with the natives by 
the prophylactic of the bottle, direct the commercial and political 
affairs of India. But Semple makes an exception in the case of die Por- 
tuguese, who through hybridization ^ really succeeded in colonizing 
Brazil, overcoming, in d<Mng so, the adverse conditions of dimate. 

Although no one any longer looks upon climate as the almighty 
bein^ of old. It is impo4ible to deny die influence that it exerts xspoa 
die formadon and development of sociedes: if not a direct influence, 
through its immediate eflects upon man, an indirect one dirough its 
reladon to the productivity of the earth, the sources of nutrition, and 
the means of economic exploitation available to the settler. 

The so-called "tropical diseases" are now half-discredited; yet it 
cannot be denied that climate per se^ through social or economic 
factors conditioned by it, predisposes the inhabitants of hot countries 
to diseases that are unknown or rare in countries with a cold climate,** 

<7 Scmple, op. dt. 
^8 Ibid. 

*^ The ancients believed that dis- 
eases came from "miasmas" or 
**witKb**— a bdief that is pirolonged in 
the f onn of an mdiscrimniate atcriba- 
tkm of "tn^Mcal diseases** to the ef- 
fects of climate. There is no doubt 
that, indirectly, various diseases are 
associated with climatic conditions- 
malaria, among others. To ouois tiie 
geneialkadcm of Professor Gad Kd- 
sey in his book The Physical Basis of 
Society (New York and London, 
1928): ^'bacterial diseases are likely to 
be more numerous in the warmer and 
moister regions of the earth and to be 
feast in evidence in high mountain 
countries and polar regions." Dalgado 
(op. cit.), in studying the effects of 
climate upon the Portuguese popula- 
tion, establisfaes the fact that in the 
hot region (dbe touch) dianfiaa, en- 
teritis, etc., are common, the higher 
disease-rate in this region than in the 
north corresponding to the general 
results obuined by Adolphe Quetelet 
(Pbysique toeiale, Brussels, 1869) in 

his invesdgatioa of conditions in 

northern as compared with southern 
Europe. Recognizing the pathologic 
influence of a hot climate, as shown 
by the statistics of disease, crime, and 
suicide and those relative to economic 
ef7icien<y and labor capacity (see E. 
Huntington: Civilizazion and Climate; 
Huntington and Williams: Btisiness 
Geography; Robert de Courcy 
Ward: Climate Considered Especially 
m Relation to Man, New Yoilc, 1908$ 
and Edwin Grant Dexter: Weather 
Influences, New York, 1904)— recog- 
nizing all this, such influences still 
should not be exaggerated, as is the 
tendency with those who would con- 
fuse the e£Fect of climate per se with 
social and economic causes, such as 
poverty, want, ignorance, syphilis, 
and ineiHcient sanitary protection. 
Sanitary protecónn not: oaly 10 far 
as man is ccmioenied (against germs 
dtat attack him directly}, but procee- 
tion, as well, of the animal and vege- 
table sources of nutrition and man's 
drinking-water. Semple insists (op. 
cit) that ve r^ocousljr diserirointM 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

that it diminishes their capacity for labor,'*** and excites to crimes 
against the person.''^ Similarly it would appear to be demonstrated that 
some races show more resistance than others to those pathogenic in- 
fluences that, ia character or intensity, are peculiar to the climate of 
the tropics."^ 

The importance of climate is being reduced as those elements that 
arc in some degree susceptible to the domination or modifying in- 
fluence of man are dissociated from it. It would appear to have been 
demonscrated by teomt experiments that it is possible for us to modify 
the nature of certain soils through drainage, thus mfluendng die 
sources of atmospheric humidity; to alter the temperature through 
the irrigation of parched lands; to break the force of winds or change 
their direction by huge masses of trees conveniently planted. This is 
not to speak of the victories that are being achieved, one after another, 
over "tropical diseases," which are being tamed when not subjugated 
by hygiene and sanitary engineering. 

Man, in short, is no longer the plaything of climate that he once 
was. Ifis capaci^ for labor, his eoonomic efficiency, his metabolism 

between the direct and the indirect 
effects of dimate, between the transi- 
ent and the pamanent effects, be- 
tween the jdiysiologic and the psy- 
chologic ones. As she sees it, a num- 
ber of the supposed direct effects are 
as yet imperfecdy established. iVIean- 
wlme she reoognizes die face that 
climate does modify many of the 
physiological processes in individuais» 
affecting their immunity to certain 
diseases, their susceptibility to others, 
dieir energy, their capacity for sus- 
tained or intermittent effort, deter- 
minnig thereby their efficiency as eco- 
nomic and political agents. In general, 
see the conclusions of Julius Hann: 
Handbuch der Klinuuologíe (Stutt- 
gart, 1897); of E. Huntington: Cwf/I- 
ssatíon and CUimtte; of Griffith Tay- 
lor: Environment and Race; of 
Robert de Courcy Ward: Climate 
Considered Especially in Relation to 
Mm; of M. R. Thorpe and coUabora- 
tofs: Orgfloie Adaptmon to Environ' 
ment (New York, 1918); of Jean 
Brunhes: La Géoç^raphie httmaine 
(Paris, 1912); of Robert Russel: At- 

Tnospbere in Relation to Human Life 
and Health (Smidisoiiian Insdtn- 
tion, Miscellaneous CoUeetumf VoL 
XXXIX. For climate and its influence 
on Brazilian life, see the Bibliografia 
do Clivia Brasílico {Bibliography of 
Works on the Brazilian Climate) ^ by 
Tancredo de Barros Paiva (Rio ét 
Janeiro, 1929), where the principal 
Brazilian and foreign works OH the 
subject are indicated. 

*® Huntington and Williams, op. cit. 

^ Dexter, op. cit. The influence of a 
hot dimate or h%h tempoature on 
crimes against the person is generally 
accepted, but a doubt was recently 
raised by Professor Todd, who at- 
tributes such crimes to the greater 
contact between indívidoals that » 
permitted by such dimates or tern* 
peratures. llie direct cause, he says, 
IS social. 

^**, , , diseases attack some races 
more than others. Whether this is due 
to some original quality of the body 
or to some immunity acquired by 
long contact with the disease involved 
is disputed." (Kelsey, op. cit.) 

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The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 1 1 

undefgo less of a change where hygiene and sanitation, diet; and the 
adaptation of clothing and habitation to new circumstances create for 
him conditions of life that are in accord with his phj^cal surround- 
ings and the temperature of the region. The very systems of modem 
communication— easy, rapid, and hygienic-change the aspect of what 
was until now a most important problem, bound up with physical 
conditions of soil and climate: namely, the quality and to a certain 
extent the quantity of the means of alimentation at the di^x)8al of 
any people. Ward stresses the importance of die development of 
steam navigation, more rapid and regular than that by sailmg^ps, 
and he sees the tropical populations benefiting greatly from this."" 
The same may be said of Ae processes of preserving and refrigerating 
foodstuffs. By means of these processes and the modern technique of 
transportation man is triumphing over that absolute dependence upon 
regional sources of nutrition to which colonial populations in the 
tropics were formerly subject. 

In this essay, however, climate is to be looked upon as the rude and 
practically all-powerful agent that it was for the Portuguese in 1500: 
an irregular, swampy climate, leading to disturbances of the digestive 
tract; a climate that, in its relation to the soil, was unfavorable to 
agriculture, especially of the European variety, since it pennitted 
neither a traditional form of labor regulated by the four seasons of 
the year nor the profitable cultivation of those alinientar\r plants to 
which the European had been accustomed for so many centuries.'^* 

The Porttiguese colonist in Brazil had to alter quite radically his 
system of alimentation, whose base now had to be changed, with a 
perceptible deficit, from wheat to manihot flour; and this was true 
also of his system of labor, which, in view of the physical and chemi- 
cal conditions of the soil, as well as. the meteorological conditions, 
could not be the same as the easy-going mode of tillage in the Por- 
tuguese homeland. In this respect the English colonizer in the United 
States had a decided advantage o\ er the Portuguese in Brazil, for the 
former m Ámeríca met with physical conditions of life and sources 
of nutrition similar to those in the mother country. In Brazil there 
was necessarily a certain lack of balance that afiFected the morphology 
as well as the efficiency of the European, owing to the lack, immedi- 

"Ward, op. dt. 

**The first letters written by the by reason of the great drought that 

Jesuits speak of processions motivated there was, as a result of wíuch the 

by droughts or floods. Father Manuel means of subsistence dried up.**— 

de Nóbrega refers to one in which Cartas do Brasil {Letters fro?n Brazil) , 

the people came out 'lieseechiiig nbi, 1549-60 (Rio de Janeiro, 193 1), p. 182. 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

ately felt, of those chemical means of alimentation that he had known 
in his own country. This lack, along with the difference in thp 
meteorological and geological conditions under which agricultural 
labor, performed by Negroes but directed by him, had to be per- 
formed, gave to the colonizing activities of the Portuguese an original, 
creative character such as neither the Enirlish in North America nor 
the Spaniards in Argentina could claim for their efforts.^'' 

Although the Portuguese came nearer than any other European 
colonizer of the Americas to being familiar with the climate and con- 
ditions of the tropics, it was, all the same, a rude change that he un- 
derwent in removing to Brazil Within the new circumstances of 
his physical life he found his economic and social life also compro- 

Everything here in úm new land was in a state of disequilibrinm, 
marked by great excesses and great deficiencies. The soil, leaving aside 
certain patches of black or reddish earth of exceptional fertility, was 
far from being suited to the planting of everything one might desire, 
as the earliest chronicler had pictured it in his enthusiasm. Rugged, in- 
tractable, mipermeable, it was in good part rebellious to the discipline 
of agriculture. The rivers were another enemy of regularized agri- 
cultural effort and a stable family life. Death-dealing floods and 
sterilizing droughts— that was what the waters brought with them. 
And in addirion to the land and jungles that were so (hfficult to cuhi- 
vate, in addition to the rivers which it was impossible to utilize for 
the purposes of an agricultural or industrial economy or even for die 
regular transport of products— in addition to all this, there were the 
swarms of larvae, the multitude of insects and worms, harmful to man. 
Especially to the one engaged in agriculture, who, the moment he 
began setting out his plantations, was afflicted on all âdes by "ants 
that do much damage" (to his crops) and by the "caterpillar tif the 
fidds^-curses that the Indian witch-doctors defied the padres to 
exordse with their prayers and the ringing of their bells."* 

Contrast these conditions with those that the English found in 

••Alberto Torres had already ob- 
sensed, in O Froblerna Nacional 
Brasileiro {The Brazilian National 
Froblmi) (Rio de Janeiro, 19 14), that 
'The United States and, in good part, 
Argentina as well are lands similar to, 
if not identical wkh, those that the 
Europ>ean colonizers had inhabited. In 
climate and the nature of the soil they 

do not differ from the mother coun» 
try. . . . Colonization is merely a 
change of dwelling, from an old house 
to a new one/' Professor Konrad 
Gtinther in a recent book, Das AmHtz 
Brasiliens (Leipzig, 1927), stresses the 
similarity betwe e n the veffetation of 
North America and that of Europe. 

^ See the correspondence of Father 
Nóbrega, Cartas do Brasil (1549-60). 

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The Portuguese Colanizatwn of Brazil 1 3 

North America. To begin with the temperature: it was substantially 
the same as in western Europe (a year-round average of 56 degrees 
Fahrenheit), a temperature considered the most favorable for eco- 
nomic progress and a European type of civilization. For this reason 
the generalizations of Professor Bogart concerning what he vaguely 
refers to as the "Latin-American race" do not appear to fit the case 
as regards Brazil. According to this economist, the people in question, 
even thcmgii surrounded bpr great **natural resources/' were incapable 
of attaining the same conditions of agricultural and industrial progress 
as the Anglo-Americans, and this incapacity he attributes to their 
being "a weak ease-loving race" and not "a virile, energetic people" 
like the North Americans, who "devoted themselves to the exploita- 
tion of the natural resources with wonderful success." Yet these 
latter were the same stock, so virile and energetic, that had come to 
grief in Old Providence and in the Bahamas. 
The Portuguese colonist found in tropical America a land that ap- 

Êarently offered an easy way of life; but it was in truth a most difficult 
fe for one who wanted to organize there some permanent or ad- 
vanced form of economy or of society. If it be true that in hot coun- 
tries man can live without effort off the spontaneous abundance of 
products, it must not be foj^otten on the other hand that in these 
countries the pernicious forms of animal and vegetable life, the ene- 
mies of all organized agriculture and of all systematic and regular 
labor, are to be found in equal luxuriance. Man and the seed that he 
plants, the houses that he builds, the animak that he breeds for his 
use or subsistence, the archives and libraries that he founds for his 
intellectual culture, the useful or beautiful products that he fashions 
with his hands—all this is at the mercy of the larvae, worms, and in- 
sects, gnawing, boring, corrupting. Grain, fruit, wood, paper, flesh, 
muscles, lymphatic glands, intestines, the white of the eyes, the toes 
of the feet, all are a prey to these terrible enemies. 

It was under physical conditions so adverse as these that the civiliz- 
ing activities of the Portuguese were carried on in the tropics. Had 
those conditions been the mild and easy ones of which the panegyrists 
of our landscape speak, then, in contrasting the difficult triumph of 
the Lusitanian in Brazil with the rapid and sensational success of the 
English in that part of America which enjoys a stiniuhiting climate, 
a balanced flora, and a fauna that is an aid to man rather than his 
enemy, along with favorable agrological and geological conditions— 

Ernest Ludlow Bogart: The Econcmc History of the United States 
(New York, 1913). 


The Masters and the Slofves 

in making such a contrast the sociologists and economists would be 
right in concluding that the fair-featured colonizer was superior to 
the brown-skinned one. 

Before the Portuguese succeeded in colonizing Brazil, Europeans 
were familiar with no other type of domination in tropical regions 
than that represented by the commercial exploitation of large-scale 
plantations or the simple extracdon of mineral wealth. In no case did 
they seriously consider the extension of the European way of life or 
the adaptation of its material and moral values to an environment 
and climate so diverse, so enervating and dissolvent in its effects. The 
Portuguese in Brazil was the first among modern colonizers to shift 
the basis of such activity in the tropics from the mere extraction of 
mineral, vegetable, or animal wealth— gold, silver, wood, amber, ivory 
—to the creation of wealth upon the scene, a wealth created, under 
the pressure of drcomstances m America, at the expense of slave labor 
and bearing the mark of that perversion of the economic instinct 
which quickly distracts the Portngnese from the activity of producing 
values to that of exploiting, transporting, and acquiring them. 

A similar shift, although imperfectly carried out, was to lead to a 
new phase and a new type of colonization: the "plantation settle- 
ment," based upon agriculture and with the colonist remaining per- 
manently upon the land, in place of a mere chance contact on his part 
with the environment and the nadve folk. It was in Brazil that the 
Portuguese began a large-scale colonization of the tropics by means of 
an economic technique and a social policy that were entirely new, 
having been no more than foreshadowed in the subtropical islands of 
the Atlantic. The technique consisted in the utilization and develop- 
ment of vegetable resources through private capital and initiative: 
agriculture, the parcelii^ out of land, and large-scale farming with 
slave labor. The social policy consisted in die utilization of die 
natives, chiefly the women, not merely as instruments of labor but 
as elements in the formation of the family. Such a policy was quite 
different from that of extermination or segregation followed for so 
long in Mexico and Peni by the Spanisli exploiters of the mines, and, 
in a loose way, by the English in North America. 

Colonial society in Brazil, principally in Pcrnanihuco and in the 
Recôncavo of Bahia, evolved patriarchally and aristocratically, not at 
random and in unstable groups, but in the shadow of the great sugar 
plantations; in Big Houses built of clay or of stone and mortar, and 
not in the thatched huts of adventurers. Oliveira Martins observes 
that the colonial population in Brazil, ''especially in the north, was 

Copyriyi iicu I : i ulCI lal 

The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 25 

aristocratically constituted; tbat is to say, the Portuguese houses 
(families) sent branches overseas, and from the very beginning the 
colony presented an aspect that was quite different from the scene 
created by the turbnlrat Spanish immigrants in central and western 
America."*^ And Soudhey previously had told us tiiat m die planta- 
tion houses of Pernambuco, in the first centuries of colonization, were 
to be found refinements and comfort such as one would have looked 
for in vain among the populations of Paraguay and the River Plata 

In Brazil, as in the tobacco-, cotton-, and rice-growing colonies of 
Nordi America, the big plantations were the result not of a colonizing 
effort on the part of the State, which in Portugal was always nig- 
gardly in this respect, but of courageous private initiative. It is to such 
initiative, on the part of such individuals as Martim Affonso in the 
south and, above all, Duarte Cuclho in the north,-' that we owe the 
first substantial colonists, the first mothers ot families, the first sow- 
ings, the first herds, the first transport animals, alimentary plants, 
agricultural implements, Jewish mechanics for the sugar factories, and 
African slaves for the labor of the bagaceira and other work (for 
which the indolent and undependable natives had demonstrated their 
incapacity). It was private initiative that, in connection with the 
allotments, held itself in readiness when the need arose to defend with 
military means the many leagues of uncultivated land that Negro 
labor was to render fertile. As Payne points out in his History of Eu- 
ropean Colonies, the Portuguese in Brazil were the first Europeans 
really to settle in colonies, and with this end in view they sold what- 

Oliveira Martins, op. cit. 
B> RobertSouthey: History ofBraziL 
••It was in the south, where, for 
that matter, colonists of the type of 
Ramalho and the Bachelor of 
Cananéia were already flourishing by 
dieir own unaided efforts, wmi a 
large mestizo progeny and hundreds 
of slaves in their service^it was there 
that the colony of São Vicente was 
officially founded, in 1532, at the ex- 
pense of the cruwn (as later at Bahia), 
Svhich bore all the expenses of the 
fleet and the installation, contrary to 
what happened in the other capitanias, 
where colonization was accomplished 
wholly at the expense of the proprie- 
tors." — C Malheiro Dias on **The 

Feudal Regime of the Proprietors 
Prior to the Institution of a Gover- 
nor-General,** in História da Colori 
zaçâo Portuguesa do Brasil (History 
of the Portuguese Colonization of 
Brazil), VoL III. It was in Pemam- 
buoo that, in the fiist cxntury of 
colonization, the spirit of primte ini- 
tiative, depending upon the individual 
effort of the inhabitants, shone most 
brilliantly, which leads to the belief 
that these were economically the most 
capable of the Portuguese who came 
to Brazil in die sixteenth century. 
They were a people endowed with 
greater resources and a greater apti- 
tude for the task of agrarian coloniza- 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

ever they possessed in the land of their origin, transporting their 
families and their fortunes to the tropics.®^ 

Leroy-Beaulieu believes that one of the advantages that Portu- 
guese colonists in tropical America enjoyed, at least during the first 
two centuries, was "the complete absence of a regular and compli- 
cated system of administration" and that "freedom of action" ('7<i 
liberte d' action que Von troiivait dans ce pays peu goiíverné^^) which 
was characteristic of Brazilian life in its beginnings. ''U organisation 
coloniale ne précède pas, elle suivit le développeinent de la coloni' 
sation,^^ the French economist observes in his study of modem coloni- 

And Ruediger Bilden remarks, with admirable critical sense, diat 
in Brazil it was private colonizing effort to a far greater extent than 
official action that promoted the mixture of races, a latifundiary 
agriculture, and slavery, thereby rendering possible, upon such bases, 
the founding and development of a large and stable agricultural 
colony in the tropics. This in addition to the fact that it greatly en- 
larged our territory to the west, something that officialdom would 
have been incapable of accomplishing, beset as it was by the com- 
promises of international politics.*" 

From 1532 on, Portuguese colonization in Brazil, like that of the 
English in North America and unlike that of the Spanish and the 
French in both the Americas, was marked by the almost CKclusive 
domination of the rural or semi-rural family, a dominanon that only 
die Church could challenge, through the activity-at times hostile to 
that of the family— of the fathers of die Sodety of Jesus. 

The family and not the individual, much less the State or any 
commercial company, was from the sixteenth century the great 
colonizing factor in Brazil, the productive unit, the capital diat 
cleared the land, founded plantations, purchased slaves, oxen, imple- 
ments; and in politics it was the social force that set itself up as die 

Payne: History of European 
Colonies (London, 1878). 

«2 Paul Lcroy-Beanlien: De la eoU 
onisation chez les peuples modemes 
(Paris, 1891). On this subject I may 
mention here a basic work that was 
recommended to me by Professor Leo 
Waibel, a colleague at the s umm er 
school of the Unhrefsiiy of Michigan, 
in 1939: Georg Friederici's Die m*- 
ropmscbe EroSerung und KolonhO' 

tion Americas (Vol. I, Stuttgart, i^yti 
Vols. II and III, Stuttgart, 1937). 

Reference here is to a forthcom- 
ing book of Bilden*s on the economic 
and social development of Brazil, the 
manuscript of which I have been per- 
mitted to read. Sergio Buarque de 
HoManda is preparing an interesting 
paper on Brazilian expansion to the 
west. On this subject see Marcha para 
Oeste {Westward March) ^ by Cas- 
siano Ricardo (Rio de Janeiro, 1939). 

Copviiyikca 1 1 i UlCI lal 

The Portuguese Colanizatian of Brazil ly 

most powerful colonial aristocracy in the Americas. Over it the King 
of Portugal may be said, practically, to have reigned without ruling. 
The representatives in the municipal council, the political expression 
of these families, quickly limited the power of the kings and later 
that of imperialism itself, or, better, the economic parasitism that 
sought to extend its absorbing tentacles from the Kingdom to the 

Colonization through soldiers of fortune, adventurers, exiles, "new- 
Christians" fleeing religious persecution, shipwreck victims, slave- 
dealeis, and traffickers in parrots and lumber left practically no trace 
on the economic life of Braaúl. This irregular and haphazard mode of 
settling the land was so superficial and lasted so short a while that 
politically and economically it never reached the point of becoming 
a clearly defined system of colonization. Its purely genetic aspect, 
on the other hand, should not be lost sight of by the historian of 
Brazilian society. From this point of view, there are those who look 
upon it as an "initial ethnic fiaw** and who discover "amcmg die 
features of the Brazilian people's coUecdve physiognomy the traces 
of hereditary stigmata left there by those patriarchs who have litde 
to commend them from the standpoint of nationality." It is Azevedo 
Amaral who makes this observation, and I am willing to accept two 
generalizations of hb regarding the period under discussion: firsts 
that this period, by reason of its "racial heterogeneity," was not a 
Portaguese but a promiscuous one, die Portuguese imprint having 
been left upon the prevalent ethnic confusion merely because of the 
predominance of the language; and, second, that die period con- 
stituted a species of "prehistoric epoch for the nation." **To elimi- 
nate," says this author, "the first fifty years diu"ing which, without 
any political supervision whatsoever and even beyond the bounds of 
civilization, Brazil received the first complex alluvia of settlers— 
to do this would be equivalent to suppressing a basic element in the 
shapings of our national life, one whose influence, as projected down 
the centuries following, we may safely infer from those positive facts 
which modern biological research has sufficiently demonstrated. If we 
hke, we may put this period in a category by itself, as a prehistoric 
epoch in the hfe of our nation."** 

Where Azevedo Amaral appears to me to be guilty of a lamentable 
exaggeration (seeing that he admits that "the available information 
... is so scant and so precarious") is in viewing all these settlers as 
a lot of "degenerates, criminals, and semi-madmen." ®^ He is referring 

Azevedo Amaral: Emàos BrasiMros (BneòUan Essays) (Rio de Janeiro, 
1930). ^ Ibid. 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

chiefly to the exiles; but, on the other hand, there is no good reason 
to doubt that many of them had been banished upon the flimsiest of 
excuses, for in those days some of the best subjects in the realm were 
thus sent out to the wilderness. The standards that in the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries still guided the Portuguese in their criminal 
jurisprudence were exceedingly strict ones. In their penal law mysti- 
cism, still aflame from the war against the Moors, gave a dispropor- 
tionate aspect to o£Fenses. C. Malheiro Dias asserts that *'there did not 
exist in contemporary legislation a code that was comparable in 
severity to Book V of the Statutes of Emanuel," and he adds that 
''according to its provisions, around two hundred offenses were to 
be punished with banishment." 

General Morais Sarmento tells us that the law of Dom Diniz, of 
January 7, 1453, "decreed that those who disbelieved in God or who 
offered an aflfront to God or to the saints should have their tongues 
drawn from their throats and be burned alive"; while for the em- 
ployment of witchcraft "that one person might love or hate an^ 
other,** ®^ as for other mystic or imaginary crimes, the Portuguese 
subject in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was to be "banished 
forever to Brazil" ^ For in a counti^ whose formadve bacl^round 
was religious lather than ethnocentric, these were high crimes, and 
the criminological perspective was quite different from the modem 
one and from that in countries whose background was less religious 
in character. In the meanwhile whoever offered an affront to the 
saints had his tongue drawn from his diroat and whoever engaged in 
amorous witchcnSt was banished to the wilds of África or America; 
whereas for the crime of killing his neighbor, dishonoring a woman, 
or defiling his daughter the delinquent frequently was hable to no 
penalty more severe than that of "paying a fine of one hen*' or of 
"paying fifteen hundred bushels.*' ^ And there was alwa}^ the pofr- 
s3)iUty of fleeing to one of the numerous "cities of refuge." 

These places made no mystery of their function, which was that 
of protecting homicides, adulterers, and fugitive servants; they even 
prôdaimed it openly. "Let It not be thought," says Gama Barros, 
"that those lands where die sovereign had decreed diat crimmals 
might enjoy immtmify felt themsdves dishmiored by the grantii^ of 

M História da Colom2açio Portu- ^ Ordenações Filipinas {Decrees of 

ffiesa do Brasily Introducrion, Vol. PtaUp), Book V, tit. III. 

in, p. 315. Mendes Corrêa: A Nova An- 

^""^ Morais Sarmento: D. Pedro I e tropologia Criminal (The New Criw- 

sua Epoca {Dovi Pedro 1 and His inal Anthropology) (Porto, 193 1). 
Epoch) (Porto, 1924). 

Copyrighted material 

The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 29 

such a privilege." ^® And Professor Mendes Corrêa informs us that 
Sabugal in 1369 petitioned that "more guarantees be given the refu- 
gees in this city," while in Azurara "immunity was carried to the 
point where a grave punishment was meted out to those who had 
pursued the fugitive criminal within the bounds of the city." ^ One 
gets the impression that the underpopulated portions of the realm 
disputed for the granting of the privilege, and that those who found 
refuge in these havens, alon^ with the large number of fugitive 
servants, were individuals guilty of the crimes of murder and of 
rape, while those who came to Brazil were, rather, the ones charged 
with slight or imaginary misdemeanors that the Portuguese, with the 
criminological outlook of their era, had distorted into heinous o£Fenses 
equal to those of the real criminals. These latter, however, must have 
come to the American colony in numbers that were by no means 
insignificant; or otherwise the landed proprietor Duarte Coelho 
would not have been so vehemently concerned with tlicni as he is in 
one of the many letters that he wrote in his role of stern and scrupu- 
lous administrator— a letter in which he beseeches His Majesty not 
to send him any more such exiles as tliese, because they are worse 
than poison.''^ 

It is possible that, with the genetic interests of the population in 
view, certain individuals were deliberately sent to Brazil whom we 
know to have been expatriated for irregularities or excesses in their 
sexual life: for hugging and kissing, for cmploN'ing witchcraft to 
induce love or hatred, for bestiality, effeminacy, procuring, and the 
like.'* To the wilderness, so underpopulated, with a bare sprinkling 
of whites, came these oversexed ones, there to give extraordinarily 
free rein to their passions; and the results, it may be, were advanta- 
geous to the interests of Portugal in Brazil. Attracted by the possi- 
bilities of a free and untrammeled life, with a host of nude women 
all around them, many Europeans of the type that Paulo Prado has 
described for us with such forceful realism proceeded to sctde 
here out of predilection or of their own free will. Unbridled stallions 
is what they were. Others, like the cabin-boys that fled Cabrai's 

Gama Barros, op. cit., II. Majest}-, História da Colonização 

'1 Mendes Corrêa, op. cit. In the Portuguesa do BrasiL 

study by this distii^^iiished andtropol- ™ Jomal de Timon {Log Book), in 

oglst odier privileged cities of lange the Worh (Obrgt) ol Joio FnndsGO 

are deed: Monforte de Rio Livre, Lisboa, edked by Luiz Carlos Pereira 

Segura, Nondal, Marvão, Miranda, de Castro and Dr. A. Henriques Leal 

Penha, and Caminha, which was a (São Luiz de Maranhão, 1864). 

"city of maritime fugitives." Paulo Prado: Retrato do Brasil 

n Letter of Dnaite Coelho to Hii (Portrait of Brazil) (SaoF^ulo, 1928). 

Copyrighted material 

3 o The Masters and the Slaves 

fleet, going up into the jungles, may have remained there out of a 
taste for adventure or "youthful audacity." And the unions that 
many of these exiles entered into -unions of Norman "interpreters," 
shipwrecked mariners, and new-Christians, Europeans all of them, 
in the prime of life and the best of health, young and full of masculine 
vigor, "adventurous and ardent youths, brmuning with strength" ^® 
—the unions that they formed with native women, who were possibly 
equally clean and physically wholesome, need not always have be- 
longed to the category of those "unhygienic matings" of which 
Azevedo Amaral speaks. Quite the contrary. Such unions may have 
served as a "true process of sexual selection" " if one takes into 
account the libeny that the European had of choosing a mate from 
among dozens of Indian women. Sexual intercourse under such con- 
ditions could only have resulted in good healthy animals, even though 
bad Christians or individuals of unprepossessing character. 

To the advantages already pointed out that the Portuguese of the 
fifteenth century enjoyed over contemporary peoples who were also 
engaged in colonizing activity may be added their sexual morality, 
which was Mozarabic in chanMCter: Catholic morality rendered supple 
by contact with the Mohammedan, and more easy-going, more re- 
laxed, than among the northern peoples. Nor was their religion die 
hard and rigid system of the Reformed countries of the north, or 
even the dramatic Catholicism of Castile itself; theirs was a liturgy 
social rather than religious, a softened, lyric Christianity with many 
phallic and animistic reminiscences of the pagan cults. The only thing 
that was lacking was for the saints and angels to take on fleshly form 
and step down from the altars on feast-days to disport themselves 
with the populace. As it was, one might have seen oxen entering the 
churches to be blessed by the priests; mothers lulling their little ones 
with the same h3muis of praise that were addressed to the Infant 
Jesus; sterile women with upraised petticoats rubbing themselves 
against the 1^ of ^o Gonçsdo do Amarante; married men, fearful 
ci infidelity on the part of their wives, going to interrogate the 
''cuckold rocks," while marriageable young girls addressed them- 
selves to the "marriage rocks"; and finally our Lady of Expectancy " 
being worshipped in the guise of a pregnant woman. 

In the case of Brazil (we are here dealing with a seventeenth-cen- 
tury phenomenon), the Portuguese colonizer had in his and the 

7^ Ibid. 
T« Ibid. 

77 Roy Nash: The Conquest of Bra 

''^**Nossa Senhora do O." A feast 

that was celebrated in Pombal in 
honor of the Virgin's expectatKm of 
her delivery. (Translator.) 

Copyiiytited material 

The Parmguese Colonization of Brazil 3 1 

colony^s favor all the wealth and the extraordinary variety of eiqpe- 
riences that had been accumulated during the fifteenth century, in 
Asia and in Africa, in Madeira and in Cape Verde, among these 
eiqperiences being a knowledge of useful plants, good to eat and 
pleasing to the palate, which were to be successfully transplanted to 
Brazil; certain advantages of the Asiatic mode of building that were 
adaptable to the American tropics; and the ascertained capad^ of 
d&e N^|io for aericultural labor. 

All of these mnents, beginning with a Christianity that was lyri- 
cally social, a cult of the family rather than a religion of the church 
or cathedral— and the Portuguese, incidentally, never erected great 
and dominant church edifices of the type to be found at Toledo or 
at Burgos, just as in Brazil such structures were never to attain the 
importance and prestige that they had in Spanish America -all these 
elements and advantages, to repeat, w ere to favor a colonization that 
in Portuguese America, as in the "proprietary colonies" of the Eng- 
lish in North America, was to rest upon the institution of the slave- 
holding family, the Big House, the patriarchal family, the only dif- 
ference being that in our country the family was to be enlarged by 
a far greater number of bastards and dependents, gathered round the 
patriarchs, who w ere more given to women and possibly a little more 
loose in their sexual code than the North Americans were. 

The true formadve process of our society, as has been said, is to 
be viewed from 1532 on, with the rural or semi-rural family as the 
unit, whether it was a matter of married couples who had come from 
the homeland or of families that had been set up here through the 
union of colonists with Indian women, with orphan girls, or e^en 
with women whom matchmaking fathers had sent over at random 
from Portugal. 

The lively and absorbing organ for the formation of Brazilian 
society, the colonial family, upon the economic base of agricultural 
wealth and slave labor combined a variety of social and economic 
funcdons, including one at which I have already hinted: polidcal 
command, in the form of an oligarchy or nepotism that made its 
appearance early here and that already in the middle of the sixteenth 
oentu^ is to be seen clashii^ with the clericalism of the Society of 
Jesus.*^ In opposition to the interests of colonial society in Brazil, 

^ Oericalism as represented by the hrother-in-Iaw the pttriarch Jero- 

priests of the Society was then collid- nymo de Albuquerque. It similarly 

ing with the oligarchy that was form- came into collision with the patriaxch- 

ing in Pernambuco around the per- alism of Ramalho, 
too oi Duarte Coelho and that of his 

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3 2 The Masters and the Slaves 

the priests of this order wished to found a holy republic of "Indians 
domesticated by Jesus," like those of Paraguay: seraphic caboclos 
obedient only to the n:inisrcrs of the Lord and laboring only in His 
gardens and plantations, with no individualit)' and without any au- 
tonomy, either personal or of the family, all of them with the excep- 
tion of the chief being clad in garments that resembled an infant's 
nightgown in an orphan-asylum or boarding-school, with the men 
indisdnguishable, so far as their raiment was concerned, from the 
women and children. 

It was owing to the presence of so strong and weighty an element 
as the rural or, better, the big landowning family that Portuguese 
colonization in Brazil very quickly took on social aspects quite 
different from the theocracy idealized by the Jesuits— and later real- 
ized by them in Paraguay— one like that of the Spaniards and the 
French. It is obvious that the family would not have been able to 
assert itself in this fashion if colonization with us, as with the English 
in Virgínia and the Carolinas, had not rested upon an agricultural 
base. ''Established in the islands of die Atlantic," says Manuel Bom- 
fim, in speaking of the Portup:uese colonist, "and not finding there 
any form of activity or possibility of acquiring wealth other than the 
steady exploitation and regular setdement of the land, he proceeded 
to accomplish these tasks and in doing so proved to be an excellent 
colonizer, better than any other people in medieval Europe, inasmuch 
as to the qualities of the pioneer he added those of one who founds 
a regular and agricultural mode of life in lands that are new." ^ 

The truth of this matter is that many of the colonists who here 
became big rural proprietors had no love for the land and no taste 
for its cultivation. For centuries in Portugal a bourgeois and Semitic 
mercantilism on the one hand and, on the other, Moorish slavery 
followed by Negro slavery had turned an ancient people of husband- 
men-kings into tiie most commercial and least rural of any in Europe. 
In the sixteenth century the king himself gives audience not in any 
Gothic casde surrounded by pine groves, but from his warehouses 
on the river bank; for both he and every great lord of the reahn were 
enriching themselves by the trade in Asiatic spices. AU that was left 
of a rural way of life for the Portuguese of that century was an easy- 
going horticulture and a mild and pastoral existence; for with them, 
as with the Israelites before them, it was the culture of the olive and 
the vine alone that flourished. Curious, therefore, that the success of 

Manuel Bomfim: O Brasil na America {Brazil in the Americas) (Rio de 
Janeiro, 1929). 

Copyriyi iicu I : i ulCI lal 

The Portuguese Colankation of Brazil 3 3 

their colonizing efiort in Brazil should have been based precisely 
upon agriculture. 

Taking the Portuguese colonizers in the mass and leaving aside the 
exceptional cases like that of Duarte G)elho-the perfect type of 
large-scale agricultudst— it may be said that the rural mode of life 
in Brazil was not spontaneous with them, but was forced upon them 
by circumstances; it was something to which they had to become 
used. The ideal for them would have been not a plantation colony, 
but another India, with which they might, in the manner of the 
Israelites, carry on a trade in spices and precious stones; or a Mexico 
or Peru, from which they might extract gold and silver. A Semitic 
ideal. It was circumstances in America that made of this colonizing 
people who were the least rural of any in their tendencies^ or whose 
agrarian direction, in any case, had been perverted by mercantilism, 
the most rural of all in the end; the same people that India had trans- 
formed into the most parasitic now became the most creative. 

Under such circumstances as these the quality and physical condi- 
tions of the land and the material and moral conditions attendant 
upon tiie life and culture of its inhabitants become exceedingly im- 

Both the earth and man were in a crude state, and their lack of 
cultivation did not afford the Portuguese an advantageous opportu- 
nity for commercial intercourse of a kind that would supplement or 
extend that which they mamtained with the Orient. The discoverers 
of Brazil encountered neither kings of Kananor (Cananore) nor chief- 
tains of Sofala widi whom they might trade and barter. Nodiing 
but **murulnxabaSy* **bugres,^^ Savages, wild men, running about 
naked, sleeping here and there, in hammocks or on the ground, and 
feeding on mamhot flour, jungle fruit, and game or fish, devoured 
raw or roasted in the embers of a fire. On their hands gleamed no 
pearls of Cipango nor rubies of Pegú; neither the gold of Sumatra 
nor the silks of Kata embellished their copper-colored bodies, how- 
ever bedecked with feathers they might be, and in place of Persian 
rugs their feet trod the uncarpeted sands. They possessed no domestic 
animal to serve them, and their agriculture consisted merely of a few 

^1 The jmirubixaba {Dioruhixaba) ger," and is explained by the belief 

was the temporal chief of an Indian that the Portuguese came to acquire 

tribe, while the pajé, or, in general, that all Indians were addiena to 

medicine-man (discossed koer in sodomy (see Gh^ter ii, p. 124 f.). 

Chapter ii; see p. 110, 119), was the (TianslatOff*) 
spiritual leader. Bugre is our **bug* 

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34 The Masters and the Slaves 

scattered plantations of manihot or inidubi (peanuts) ®^ or some fruit 
or other. Viana is right when he observes that between the Indies, 
"with a marvelous accumulation of wealth and a long tradition of 
trade with the peoples of the Orient and the Occident," and Brazil, 
**with a population of aborigines still in the polished stone age," there 
was an essential difference. "This absence of organized wealth, this 
lack of a base for the permanent organization of trade," adds the 
author of Evolution of the Brazilian People, "is the thing that led 
the men of the pemnsula, transplanted here, to devote themselves to 
agricultural exploitatioii." 

Cloves, pepper, amber, sandalwood, cinnamon, ginger, ivory— none 
of these nor any vegetable or animal substance whatsoever of recog- 
nized value in satisfying the needs and tastes of aristocratic or bour- 
geois Europe did the Portuguese ând in the American tropics. This 
is not to speak of gold and silver, more sought after than anything 
else, and which as yet eluded the explorers of the new land. The 
melancholy conclusion of Vespucci sums up the bitter disappoint- 
ment that they all felt: "an infinite number of brazilwood trees and 
pipe-reeds. . ♦ "Groves everywhere" and "many waters," notes 
the astute chronicler of the discovery. Pêro Vaz de Caminha.^ 

Enormous masses of water, that is certain, conferred a grandeur 
upon this land covered with dense jungles. They gave it drama. But 
it was a grandeur without economic possibilities suited to the tech- 
nique and the knowledge of the age. On the contrary, so far as the 
needs of the men who created Brazil were concerned, these formi- 
dable masses of rivers and waterfalls only in part, never wholly, lent 
themselves to the civilizing functions of regular communication and 
utilization for purposes of power. When one of these great rivers 
overflowed its banks in the rainy season, it would inundate eve^- 
tfaing, covering cane fields and killing cattle and even the inhabit- 
ants. It brought destruction and devastation. Agriculture and cattle- 
raising upon its banks were almost out of die question, for if it was 
easy to initiate such an undertaking, destruction by the flood-waters 

^MidM is the amendoim (pea- 
nut), a plant of the Leguminoste fam- 
ily. (Aracbnis hipogúsa Lin*) (Trans- 

Evolução do Povo Brasileiro (Rio 
de Janeiro^ 1929). 

Letter of Amerigo Vespucci, 
cited by Capistrano de Abreu: O 
Descobrimento do Brasil (The Dis- 
covery of Brazil) (Rio de Janeiro). 

land . . • very full of 

gro\^es of trees everywhere . . . 
waters . . . many and endless."— Let- 
ter of Pero (or Pedro) Vaz de 
Caminha, published by Manuel Ayres 
de Gazal: Cborogf^wpUa Bramea 
(Brazil i. in Chorography) (2nd edi- 
tion, Rio de Janeiro^ i^5)« VoL I, p. 

Copyrighted material 

The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 35 

vm sure to follow and herds would be dedmated or their pasture- 
grounds ruined. In place of benefiting the plantations, therefore, these 
huge bodies of water destroyed them completely or in large part. 
Without any balanced volume or regularity of course, varying 

extremely as to conditions of iiiivigabilitv and utility, the great rivers 
were undependable collaborators -if we may call them that— of the 
agriculturist engaged in shaping the economic and social life of our 
country. Agrarian Brazil owes much, on the other hand, to the lesser 
but more regular streams, where these submissively lent themselves 
to the work of grinding the cane, irrigating the river plains, bringing 
verdure to the fields, and transporting sugar, lumber, and, later, coffee 
to serve the interests and needs of the settled populations, human and 
animal, along their banks. Here it was that large-scale tillage flour- 
ished, a latifundiary agriculture prospered, and cattle-raising ex- 
panded. Rivers like the Mamanguape, the Una, the Pitanga, the 
Paranamirim, the Serinhaem, the Iguaçu, the Cotindiba, the Pirapama, 
the Ipojuca, the Mundaú, the Paraíba, neither running dry nor over- 
flowing their banks, were valuable and regular collaborators in the 
organization of our agrarian economy and the slave-holding society 
that developed around ir. Of the Paraíba Alberto Rangel writes that 
in the days of slave labor it was "the paradisiacal river, the Euphrates 
of the senzalaSy with Taubaté for metropolis." In brief, the more 
regular and balanced was the water supply afforded by the rivers 
and river sources, the richer was the rural life of our country, from 
the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, in the qualides and conditions 
that make for permanence. 

If die great Brazilian rivers have been glorified by monuments 
and hymned in a celebrated poem to the Páulo Afonso Falls ^ (which 
to this day are of purely xsmedc, not to say soenographic, interest in 
our nadonal life), the lesser streams that are so much more serviceable 
are surely deserving of a study that shall determine the important 
civilizing role they played in the formation of our society; for they 
are bound up with tradirions of stability, whereas the ottiers— more 
romantic, it may be, but not more Brazilian— are associated with 
tradirions of mobility, dynamism, the backlands expaxmcm. of the 
bandeirantes and the padres, die search for gold, for slaves, and for 
souls for Our Lord Jesus Christ. The great rivers were, par excel- 

Alberto Rangel: Rumos e Ter- teenth century— '^e poet of the 

specthas {Directions and Perspec- slaves,'* as he is known— has a famous 

twei) (Rio de Janeiro, 1914). poem entitled "Paulo Afonso Falls" 

®^ Castro Alves, tlie romantic and ("Cachoeira de Paulo Afonso^^), 

abolitionisc poet of the mid-nine- (Translator.) 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

leiice, those of the bandeirante and the missionary, who in making 
their way up them had to overcome the difficulties presented by 
cataracts and by the irregular courses of these streams.^® The small 
rivers, by contrast, belonged to the plantation-owner, to the rancher, 
and to the transport of the products of the land. The great ones dis- 
persed the colonizer, the small ones kept him settled by rendeiing 
possible a sedentary life in the rural regions. 

Having as a physical base the waters of the great rivers, even 
though these were strewn with waterfalls, the Brazilian continued to 
display the tendency manifested by the Portuguese colonist: to 
scatter out, in place of settling down in compact groups. The 
bandeirante in particular, from the end of the dxteentfa century on, 
became a founder of sub-colonies. Though not the owner of the land 
on which he was bom, but a mere colonial, he made himself master 
of the lands of others and exhibited in doing so an imperialist impulse 
that was as daring as it was precocious. With the bandeirante Brazil 
went through a process of self-colonization. Pedro Dantas had noted 
this constant in our history, represented by the tendency to spread 
out over the surface instead of evolving **in density and depth" 
the same dispersive tendency that was characteristic of Portuguese 
colonial expansion. In Brazil this tendency— cmning from far back 
and possibly of Semitic origin^— was prolonged, and took the form 

^® On the role of the great rivers in 
Brazilian history, it may be of interest 
to compare Euclides da Cunha: Os 
Sertões (idth editioii, Rio de Janeko, 
1942), p. 8z f.; for English version, see 
Rebellion in the Backlands (Univer- 
sity' of Chicago Press, 1944), p. 64f. 

«•Pedro Dantas: "Perspectivas" 
("Perspectives"), in Revista Nova, 
No. 4 (São Paulo, 193 1 ). 

^^^São Paulo was probably the nu- 
cleus of the Brazilian population with 
the largest strain of Semitic blood. 
The tentacles of the Holy Office had 
not reached as far as that, although 
diey were already closing upon Bahia 
and Pernambuco, where all that was 
lacking was for the bonfires to be pre- 
pared. This drcomstance Capistrano 
de Abren, in the course of conversa- 
tions (so we arc informed by his 
intimate friend and constant com- 
panion Paulo Prado), was accustomed 

to attribute to the fact that São Paulo 
had become the preferred haven of 
new-Christians. *'Tlie fact is that no 
other populated locally in our colo- 
nial territory gave the unm^p^ant Jew 
a better reception," writes Paulo 
Prado in Paulistica (ind edition, Rio 
de Janeiro, 1934). And he adds; "In 
São Paulo they were not persecuted 
by the formidable instroment of the 
Inquisition, which never reached as 
far as the southern capitânia" On the 
Israelitish infiltration into Brazil, read 
the essay by Solidooio Leite fils: Os 
Judeus no Brasil {The Jexvs in Brazil) 
(Rio de Janeiro, 1923). On this sub- 
ject see also the all but unknown 
Essai historique sur la colonie de 
Surimn . . , le tout rédigé sur des 
pièces authentíques y jaustes & mis 
en ordre par les Régens é- Repré- 
sentans de ladite Nation ]uive Portu- 
gaise, published at Paramaribti in 1788, 
where we find it stated that "c^J 

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The Partugueíe Colonization of Brazil 3 7 

of what impressed Alberto Torres as being our "passion for extending 
adventurous populations and capitalist enterprises . . . throughout 
the whole of our territory." A passion that, as he sees it, we should 
endeavor to offset by a "policy of conserving our natural resources, 
reclaiming devastated regions, and concentrating our populations in 
zones that are already open to cultivation, with man being trained to 
make the most of these regions, to cause them to bear fruit, and get 
their real wonh out of them." ®^ This is also precisely what Pedro 
Dantas would wish for present-day Brazil: "that our development 
might proceed in density and depth." Such, indeed, was the initial 
tendency of those same plantation-owners and fazendeiros^ in agrar- 
ian Brazil whom iVzevedo Amaral criticizes so severely in the pages 
of Brazilian Essay s.^^ 

If it is an established fact that the furious e3q3ansionist movement 
on the part of the bajideirantes won for us real treasures in the form 
of lands, it is<likewise perfectly true that this ardent expansion com- 
promised our economic health, not to say our political unity. Hap- 
pily, these impulses to dispersion, with the accompanying dangers of 
differentiation and separatism, were opposed from the beginning of 
our colonial life by forces that were practically equal to them in ag- 
gressiveness and that neutralized them or mitigated their effects. To 
begin with, there were the physical features of the region, forming 
an **ememble nature^ which Horace Sa)% a century or so aeo, con- 
trasted with that of Spanish America: **Aucune limte ne féUve pour 
séparer les dwerses provinces les unes des autres et dest là un avantage 
de plus que les possessions portugmes ont eu sitr les possessions es" 
pagnoles en Amérique?^ •* 

The same dispersive mobility that; from the sixteenth century on, 
divided us into Paulistas and Pemambucans, or Paulistas and Bahians, 
at the same time kept us in contact, and even in communion, with one 
another through the difficult but not for that reason infrequent means 
of intercommunication in colonial days. "Fluminenses ^ and Paulistas 

Juijs done recontrant au Brêsil lews 
frères . . . ceux de Brêsil étoient la 

plupart des gens de condition é- três 
versés dans le commerce & I'agriad- 
ture* . . ." 

•^Alberto Torres: O Vroblema Na- 
cional Brasileiro. See also by the same 
author: A Organização Nacional (Na- 
tional Organization) (Rio de Janeiro, 

^Fazendeiro: owner of a fazenda. 

a laige estate, ranch, or plantation. 

®' Azevedo Amaral: Ensaios Bra- 

®* Horace Say: Histoire drs rela- 
tions coTmnerciales entre la France et 
le Brêsil (Paris, 1839). 

••The Fluminenses are the inhabit- 
ants of the Rio de Janeiro region. 


The Masters and the Slaves 

went to fight at Bahia and Pernambuco, which were engac^cd in de- 
fending themselves against the Dutch," iManuel Bomfim reminds us, 
apropos of Euchdes da Cunha's assertion that this struggle against the 
foreigner in the north was carried on with the southern peoples 
"completely divorced" from itall.^® It was, further, the Paulistas who 
"answered the repeated calls from Bahia to help in the defense against 
the Aimoré Indians, as well as against the Dutch, just as at Pernam- 
buco they were called in to resolve the affair at Palmares." ®^ Later 
—and it is still Bomfim who is speaking— "Ceará came to the aid of 
Piauí, which was still controlled by Portuguese troops, and together 
the Piauienses and the Cearenses went to the assistance of Maran- 
hão." ®® And it was in the same era that the Pemambucans brought 
succor to the Bahians, helping the latter to achieve the victory of the 
2nd of July.®* 

There were also the Jesuits, with their uniform system of educa- 
tion and morality and the influence which it exerted upon an organ- 
ism that was still soft and plastic, without bones, one might say, as 
our colonial society was in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 
As educators they helped to articubte what they themselves as cate- 

06 See Os Sertões, i6th edition, pp. 
83-4; Rebeltíon m the Backlands, pp. 
64-5. (Translator.) 

^ M. Bomfim: O Brasil 7ia HUtSria 
(Brazil m History) (Bio de Janeiro, 
193 1 ). 

[Palmares was the famous republic 
set up by runaway slaves in the seven- 
teentn coitury, which lasted mxxy- 
seven years (1630-97). (Translator.)] 

0^ In contradicting Euclides da 
Cunha's assertion, Bomfim bases his 
own point of view up the São Paulo 
documents (wills, inventories, allot- 
ments) among the great and valuable 
mass of material that was published 
at the instigation of Brazil's former 
President, from the state of São Paulo, 
Washington Lois— material of which 
Professor Alcantara Machado made 
use in organizing his interesting book 
Vida e Morte do Bandeirante (Life 
and Death of the Bandeirante) (São 
Paulo, 1930), as did Affonso Taunay 
in his definitive study of the bandeiras. 
Pemambucan documents recendy ex- 
amined by nie in the manuscript 
section of the State Public Library 

and in the collection of the Historical 
and Archaeological Institute of Per- 
nambuco confirm M. Bomfim in the 
stand he takes. I am refeiring to the 

books of allotments, where grants of 
Pcrnambucan and São Paulo lands 
will be found registered in return for 
collaboration in ''campaigns against 
the N^TO iqiruing m Palmares.** 
There were the cases of João Paes de 
Mendonça Arraide and his father, 
Christovão de Mendonça Arraide 
(Registry of Allotments and Land 
Grants, 1689-1730) and that of 
Pascoal Leite de Mendonça, "Captain 
of Infantrv"- of the Paulistas," to whom 
the captain-general of Pernambuco, 
in 1702, granted "three square leagues 
of land of those conquered at Pal- 
mares," where was situated "the Plan- 
tation of Christovão Dias in the river- 
mead of Seniba" (manuscript col- 
lection of the Pcrnambucan Institute). 

•®The victory of July 2, 1625, 
which routed die Dutch from Bahia; 
aldiongh diey afterwards captured 
Pernambuco (1630) and held it for 
over twenty years. (Translator.) 

Copyrighted material 

The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 39 

chists and missionaries had been icqponsible for dispersing. The fa- 
thers of the Society of Jesus were everywhere, moving from one end 
to another of the vast colonial domain, establishing a permanent con- 
tact between the ^radic foci of colonization and, through the 
**lingua geral" between the various groups of aborigines as well.^ 
Their mobility, like that of the Paulistas, if on the one hand it became 
dangerously dispershre, on the other hand was salutary and construc- 
tive in so far as it tended to that "unionism" in which Professor JoSo 
Ribeiro sees one of the great social forces of our history.^^ 

So far as that goes, we had been prepared for thb 'Smionism" by 
the singular, the very special situation of the Portuguese people as 
colonizers. They had come to die shores of America united politically 
and juridically; and however great might be the real or apparent 
vari^ of creeds and ethnic strains, all diese were accommodated to 
the polidcal and juridical organization of the State in union with the 
Catholic Church. As M. Bomfim observes, "the formation of Portu- 
gal was marked by so high a degree of political precocity that the 
htde Kingdom impresses us as being the first completely rounded 

1^ Literally, die general (common) 
tongue or langua^. It is a form of 

the Tupi-Guarani language. The au- 
thor alludes to this a little later on as 
the creation of the Jesuits. (Transla- 

Father Simão de Vflsooncellos, 
in his Chronica da Co7?ipanhia de 
Jesus do Estado do Brasii, e do que 
obraram seus Filhos nesta Parte do 
Novo Miaido (Chronicle of the Soei' 
ety of Jena ef the State of Brazil^ end 
of the work done by its Sojis in this 
Part of the New World) (2nd edi- 
tion, Rio de Janeiro, 1864), p. 41, 
states that such was the haste with 
nHiich Fadwr Leonardo Nunes ran 
about from place to place **that they 
came to give him rhe name, in the 
language of Brazil, of Abaré bebé**— 
that is to say, "the flying padre." 
And in his introduction to the same 
Chronide, Canon Fernandes Pinheiio 
observes, in speaking of the first mis- 
sionaries, that it might be said of them 
that they had "solved the problem of 
ubiquity." Varnhagen remarks that, 
traveling continuously, the mission- 
arks **e8tablisfaed more frequent 00m- 

munkatkm and closer relations be- 
tween one town and another.** By 

way of generalization it may be said 
that all the missionaries in Brazil were 
flying padres. This is surely true of 
some of them, who travded in ham- 
mocks borne by Indians, and so may 
be said to have flown. 

For João Ribeiro, who always 
sees so clearly the facts and tenden- 
cies in connection with the historical 
development of Brazil, die "locd par- 
ticularism is distinguished ... by a 
higher spirit of unionism. . . ." (His- 
tória do Brasil, advanced school 
course, Rio de Janeiro, 1900.) For 
that matter, as M. Bomfim points out, 
Euclides da Cunha contradicts him- 
self in putting forward the idea that 
Brazil consists of "groups divorced 
from one another," when in Os Ser- 
tões he stresses the importance of the 
sertanejo (man of the baddands)— 
that same sertanejo who radiates 
northward from Minas to Goiaz and 
Piauí, to the far bounds of Maranhão 
and Ceará on the northeast, and to the 
highland mining region of Bahia on 
the east. 

Copyrighted material 

40 The Masters and the Slaves 

nation in sixteenth-ccnrury Europe." An observation that Stephens 
had already made in The Story of Portugal}^ 

The Portuguese brought with them to Brazil neither political 
divisions, as the Spaniards did to their American dominions, nor 
religious differences, as was the case with the English and the French 
in their colonies. 1 he Maranos in the homeland did not constitute 
the same intransigent element of differentiation that the Huguenots 
did in France or the Puritans in England; thcv were an imperceptible 
minority, economically odious in some of their characteristics, but 
they were not aggressive, nor did they tend to disturb national unity . 
On the contrary, in many respects, no minority was more accom- 
modating and tractable. 

The formation of Brazil went forward without the colonizers being 
concerned with racial unity or racial purity. Throughout practically 
the whole of the sixteenth century the gates of the colony were open 
to foreigners; the only thing that mattered to the colonial authorities 
was that the newcomers be of the Catholic faith or religion. Handel- 
mann notes that, in order to be admitted to Brazil as a colonist during 
that era, the principal requhrement was that one profess the Christian 
religion: "only Christians"— and in Portugal this meant Catholics— 
''might acquire allotments." "No restriction, however,'' the German 
historian continues, ''was laid down as to nationality; and Catholics 
from foreign countries might accordingly emigrate to Brazil and 
settle there. . . Oliveira Lima emphasizes Sie fact diat during 
the century in question Portugal tolerated within its possessions many 
foreigners, the Portuguese policy with regard to colonization and 
settlement not being one of "rigorous exclusion, as later adopted by 

Throughout certain colonial epochs we may note the custom of 
having a friar aboard every ship that entered a Brazilian port, that 
he might be able to examine the conscience, faith, and religion of the 
new arrivaL^^ The thing that barred an imm^rant in those days was 

1«H. M. Stephens: The Story of 
Portugal (New York, 1891). For a 
deeper-goii^ acquaintance w ith the 
subject see the work by H. ScháíTer: 
Geschichte vo?i Portugal (Hamburg, 
1836-54), of which there exists a Por- 
tuguese translation. 

i'>*Thc Maranos were Jews who, 
under threat of or torture by the In- 
quisition, had publicly embraced 
Christianity, while continuing to 

practice their own creed in private. 

H. Handelmann: História do 
Brasil (translatioii, Rio de Janeiro, 

loooHveira Lima: Nova Lust- 
taM* C*The New Lusitânia**), cited 
in Histária da CoUndzagSo Portuguesa 

do Brasil (op, cfe.), Vol. Ill, p. 297. 

1**^ See Rirter von Schaffcr: Drasilien 
als unabhimgiges Reich, (Alcona, 

Copyrighted material 

The Portuguese Colo7iization of Brazil 41 

heterodoxy: the blot of heresy upon the soul and not any racial brand 
upon the body. It was a question of religious health; and syphilis, 
buboes, smallpox, and leprosy might enter freely, being brought in by 
Europeans and Negroes alike from various places. For the danger lay 
not in the fact that the individual was a foreigner or that he m^;ht be 
unhygienic or cacogenic; it lay in the possibility of his being a heretic. 
Let hun be able to say die Our Father and the Hail Maty, to recite 
the Âposdes* Creed, and to make the sign of the cross— let him be 
able to do this, and the foreigner was welcome in colonial BraziL The 
friar aboad ship was there to investigate the individual's orthodoxy 
just as today the immigrant's health and race are investigated. 
'^Whereas," remarks Pedro de Azevedo, '^e An^o-Sazon regards an 
individual as being of his race only when die latter is oi die same 
physical type as he himself, the Portuguese forgets race and regards 
as his equal the one who professes the same religion.**** 

The thing that was feared so far as the Catholic immigrant was 
concerned was the political enemy who might be capable of shatter- 
ing or of weakening that solidarity which in Portgual had evolved in 
unison with the Catholic religion. This solidarity was splendidly 
maintained throughout the whole of our colonial period, serving 
to unite us against the French Calvinists, the Reformed Dutch, the 
English Protestants. To such an extent that it would, in truth, be 
difficult to separate the Brazilian from the Catholic: Catholicism was 
in reahty the cement of our unir}\*'^ 

At the beginning of our colonial era we find uniting with families 

1824). Concerning this quarantine of 
heretics, which is what it amounted 
to, TiistSo de Atliayde has the fd- 
kráiii^to say: "In 1813 they inquired 
into one's religious beliefs and pass- 
port. Today they inquire into one's 
passport, luggage, political creed, per- 
■omii hábits, and stato of healdu**' 
Estudos (Studies), Series I (Rio de 
Janeiro, 1927). On the friars and 
priests who in the ports watched over 
the colony's Catholic orthodoxy, at 
times with a suavity that is lacking 
in modem health inspectors and po- 
lice functiooaries connected with the 
immigration service, see "Certain 
notes of the voyage to Brazil with 
the Minion of London ... in the 
yere 1580 \mtten by Thomas Gam 
Poner of the same ship,** m Toe 

Principal Navigations Voyages Traf- 
fiques é- Discoveries of the English 
Nation ... by Richard Halduyt 

(London, 1927), Vol. VIII, pp. 13-14. 

108 Pedro de Azeuedo: **Os Primeiros 
Dovatários'' ("The First Proprie- 
tors"), cited in História da Coloni- 
zação Portuguesa do Brasily VoL III, 
p. 194. 

^o®In Brazil the unbeliever Fustd 
de Coulanges, even more than in 
France— which since the Revolution 
had been divided into the Black and 
the Red— felt himself under the neces- 
ahy of being a Catholic out of a senti- 
ment of nationalism. This, moreover, 
was the attitude of Oliveira Lima, 
who, lacking a more ardent religious 
ideal, once declared himself to lie ft 
^'historic Ottholic.'* 

Copyrighted material 

42 The Masters and the Slaves 

of Portuguese origin foreigners from various lands, sonic of them being 
from Reformed countries or those tainted with heresy; and we come 
upon such names as Arzam, Bandemborg, Bentinck, Lins, Cavalcanti, 
Doria, Hollanda, Acdoly, Furquim, Novilher, Barewell, Lems, and 
later, in the seventeenth century. Van der Lei."° Still others of the 
same sort were dissolved into Portuguese names. Those persons who 
came from Protestant countries were already Catholics or else were 
converted here; and this sufficed for them to be received on intimate 
terms into our social and even our political life. They might here set 
up a family and marry with the best of the land, acquiring agricul- 
tural property, influence, and prestige. 

Sylvio Romero, Brazilian sociologist and historian, observes that in 
Brazil the Jesuit catechism and the ordinances of the Realm "guaran- 
teed from the earliest times the unity of religion and the law." 

As for the mechanism of colonial administration, marked by feudal 
tendencies in tiie beginning, it was lacking in die severity displayed 
by the Spaniards; it was slack and weak, leaving the colonies and in 
many respects the proprietors to their own free wilL When later it 
was rendered more rigid through the creation of the office of gov- 
ernor-general, this was by way of assuring the union of certain of 
the CaphâmaSy by keeping them under the same moral guardianship, 
under the same governor-general, the same Ultramarine G>unal, 
the same Tribunal of Conscience,^^ while still maintaining a separa- 
tion between them in so far as it was possible to subject each one of 
them to special treatment by the Metropolk The object tn view was 
to prevent a national consciousness (which would inevitably arise out 
of a uniformity of treatment and administrative regime) from over- 
shadowing the regional one; but this prophylactic measure against 
the peril of nationalism in the colony was not carried to the point of 
sacrificing to it the colony's essential unity, assured by the catechism 
and by the Ordinances, by the Catholic liturg)^ and by the Portu- 
guese language, aided by that "general" tongue which the Jesuits had 

Physical conditions in Brazil, which might have contributed to the 
deepening of regional divergencies to dangerous extremes, were not 

This is not to take into account of Hebraic origin joined to the Gath- 

the numerous colonists from other olio communion, 

parts of the Iberian Peninsula who are Sylvio Romero, op. cit. 

here not distinguished from those of The Mesa de Conciertcia, a tri- 

Portoguese oriein. Among other banal in Lisbon insticiiced by King 

names we find Bueno, C^inmrgo, John III to decide matters of oon- 

Aguirre, Lara y Ordones, Freyre, science. (Translator.) 
Bonilha. Not to speak of the colonists 

Copyriyi iicu I : i ulCI lal 

The Portuguese CoUmzatUm of Brml 43 

merely something to be put up with, but were even turned to ad- 
vantage in assuring to a colony so extensive as this one the compara- 
tive degree of political well-being that it always enjoyed. The in- 
fluence of the physical factors, of the considerable though not 
dominant differences in climate and in the physical and chemical 
quality of the soil, in the system of alimentation and the fonns of 
agricoltme, was but weakly exerted in the direction of separatism. 
Such conditions, it may rather be asserted, in Brazil contributed to 
the preservation of unity within the bonds of consanguinity and a 
solidarity assured by the tendencies and processes of Portuguese 
colonization, which in their effect were regionalist but not separatist, 
unionist in the best sense of the term -that sense which predseiy 
coincided with the interests of the Catholic catechism. 

A climate that from north to south, from the ma3dmum altitude 
to the minimum, did not vary sufficiently to create profound dif- 
ferences in the mode of colonial life, or vaciatimis in the physical and 
chemical quality of the soil such as would stimulate the development 
of two societies basically antagonistic in their economic and social 
interests, was at the same time die factor that overcame the tendency 
to uniformity. De^te the astonishing mobility of the bandeirmtes 
and the missionaries, this was an influence that made itself felt from 
the first century of settlement and territorial expansi<ML 

The culdvation of the sugar-cane was hegvai at São Vicente and in 
Pernambuco^ being later extended to Bahia and to Maranluk). In those 
regions where it attained success-a mediocre one as at SSo Vicdnte or 
a maximum one as in Pernambuco, the Recôncavo, and Maranl^-> 
there grew up a society and a mode of life whose tendencies were 
those of a slave-holding aristocracy, with a consequent similarity of 
economic interests. Economic antagonism was to show its head later, 
when it sprang up between those individuals who, possessing more 
capital, were able to meet the costs of the cultivation and manufacture 
of sugar and those less favored ones who were obliged to scatter out 
through the backlands in quest of slaves -a species of living capital— 
or else to settle there as cattle-raisers. This was an antagonism that 
a land so vast was in a position to support without any shock to the 
economic balance of things; but out of it was to result a Brazil that 
was anti-slavery or indifferent to the interests of the slave-owners, 
represented in particular by Ceará and in general by the sertanejo 
and the vaqneiro}^^ 

The identity of agrarian and slave-holding interests that during the 

Sertanejo', man of the sertão, or backlands. Vaqueiro: a cowboy or catde- 
nuui of die backlands xqpoa <rf noctheastem Brazil (Translator.) 

Copyrighted material 

44 The Masters and the Slaves 

sixteenth and seventeenth centuries prevailed in a colony wholly 
devoted, with a greater or less degree of intensity, to the raising of 
sugar was not so profoundly disturbed as at first sight might appear 
to be the case by the discovery of the mines or the introduction of the 
coffee tree. If the economic point of support of the colonial aristoc- 
racy was shifted from the sugar-cane to gold, and later to coffee, its 
instrument of exploitation, the arm of the slave, was still retained. 
The very divergency of interests that now became defined— the 
difference in the technique of economic exploitation between the 
northeast, which persisted in the cultivation of sugar, and the capi- 
tânia of Minas Geraes, and between these two regions and coffee- 
growing São Paulo— was in a manner compensated in its separatist 
effects by the human migration that the economic phenomenon in 
itself induced. By dividing between the sugar-raising zone, the mining 
region, and the coffee zone to the south an ethnic element, the slave 
of African origin, which had been preserved en bloc in the northeast 
(up to then the section that, by reason of the excellence of its soil 
for sugar-growing, was the most inclined of the three to slavery), the 
phenomenon in question was to result in profound regional differ- 
ences in the sphere of human culture. 

For the needs of alimentation during the first centuries of colonial 
life practically the same native or imported plants were cultivated 
from north to south. The basis of our S3^stem of nutrition became 
manihot flour, and in addition Indian com was cultivated. Practically 
the same colmiial table was to be found everywhere, the only varia- 
tions being certain regional specialties in the form of fruit and greens. 
In certain places a dash of local color was afforded or local taste was 
reflected in the greater influence exerted by the native, while else- 
where a lively exotic coloring was provided by the proximity of 
Africa. It was in Pernambuco that, by reason of its being the point 
closest to Europe, a balance was struck between the three influences: 
die native, the African, and the Portuguese. 

Upon the São Paulo plateau— where the barely compensatory 
results of the cultivation of the sugar-cane led the settlers to divert 
their agricultural efforts to other crops, thus initiattng something like 
a salutary tendency to diversified farming -a relatively successful 
attempt was made at the regular cultivation of wheat in the first cen- 
tury of colonization. Had the attempt wholly succeeded, diversified 
farming, which had been no more than begun, might have been 
carried further and these two factors would have resulted in a 
profound differentiation of regional life and the regional type. Rela- 
tive as they were, they made themselves powerfully felt in the greater 

Co(-j^ a úod material 

The Portuguese Colonkatíon of Brazil 4$ 

efficiency and higher eugenic standard of the Paulista as compared 
with the BraziHans of other regions, with a similar background of 
agrarian slaver)^ and ethnic hybridism, but who, as a result in large 
part of the conditions referred to, enjoyed less of the advantages of a 
balanced diet. "The dietetic regime of the PauUstas was not, then, 
the least of those factors which contributed to the prosperity of the 
people of the plateau," concludes Alfredo EUis, Jr., in the suggestive 
chapter which, in his Race of Giants,^^* he devotes to the eugenic 
development of the inhabitants of this region. Generally spealdi^y it 
may be said that wherever agriculture Hourished, the system of big 
landoA\Tiership prevailed in slave-holding Brazil, a S)^stem that was to 
deprive the colonial population of a balanced and constant supply of 
fresh and wholesome foodstuffs. Much of the physical inferiority of 
the Brazihan, commonly attributed to race or vaguely and with 
Mussulman fatalism to climate, is due to the bad management of our 
natural resources in the matter of nutrition, resources ^t; while not 
die richest in the world, might have provided, within the system of 
slavery and big landownership, a more varied and healthful diet than 
that which the first colonists and their descendants knew. 

It is an illusion to suppose that the majority of individuals in 
colonial society were wdl nourished. As to quantity, there were in 
general two extremes: the whites of the Big Houses and the N^oes 
of the slave quarters, the big landed proprietors and the blacks who 
were dieir slaves and who had need of the food that was given them 
to enable them to endure the hard labor of the bagaceira. What 
happened was that the sugar-planters, "since they lived solely on what 
they gained with the labor of so many slaves" (those from Guinea), 
practically never employed their Negroes— "not a single one of them" 
—at anything that did not have to do \\ ith "the husbandry that they 
professed." From this— so concludes the author of the Dialogues 
on the Grandeurs of Brazil, who set down his notes at the beginning 

of the seventeenth century— "from this results the lack and scarcity of 

The conditions of climate and soil being unfavorable to the cultiva- 
tion of wheat, the fathers of the Society of Jesus were practically 
the only ones who insisted upon raising it, for the preparation of the 

Alfredo Ellis, Jr.: Raça de 
Gigantes (São Paulo, 1926). 

*^ Diálogos das Grandezas do Bra- 
sil (Rio de Janeiro, 1930), p. 33. [The 
Dialogues are atcríbaóêd to Bono Tei- 
xeira Pinto, ene of the most important 

of Brazil's colonial writers, author of 
the well-known epic Prosopopéa, 

"*The chioaider It nlenmg (op. 
cit.) to fruits, v^etables, and beef. 

Copyrighted material 

46 The Masters and the Slaves 

Sacred Host. As for manihot, employed in place of wheat, the sugar- 
cane planters abandoned it to the undependable caboclos. The upshot 
of it all was that the almost complete absence of wheat from the list 
of our natural resources, or possibilities, in the realm of nutrition led 
to the lowering of the alimentary standards of the Portuguese col- 
onizer, and the lack of stability in the cultivation of manihot— left 
to those haphazard agriculturists, the Indians— resulted in a corre- 
sponding instability in our diet. To this must be added the lack of 
fresh meat, of milk, eggs, and even vegetables in various agrarian, 
slave-holding regions, possibly in all of them with a single exception, 
and that a relative one: the São Paulo plateau. 

And so, admitting the influence of the individual's diet, an influence 
that is possibly ex^gerated by certain modem authoiities,^^^ apon 
the physical and economic development of populations, we must 
recognize the fact that the Brazilian's method of food supply, within 
the organizational framework of that system of agrarian slavery 
which so largely shaped our national life, was an exceedingly deficient 
and unstable one; and this possibly will go to explain certain impor- 
tant somatic and psychic differences between the European and the 
Brazilian which ordinarily are attributed exclusively to mÍ8c^;enation 
and to climate. 

Certain it is that, in the stressing of snch differences, by shifting 
the responsibihty from climate or miscegenation to diet we are not 
thereby givii^ die first mentioned a clean bill of health; for when all 
is said, it is upon climate and upon the chemical qualities of the soil 
that the alimentary regime that is followed by the population in large 
part depends. What are the conditions, if not these (the ph3rsical and 
chemical qualities of the soil, and climate), that go to determine the 
character of the spontaneous v^etation and the possibilities of agri- 
culture, and through them the character and possibilities of man hun- 

In the case of Brazilian society what happened was that; owing to 
the pressure of an economic-sooal influence— monocoltoie— die defi- 
ciencies of the natural sources of nutrition were accentuated, where 
diversified farming might possibly have attenuated or even have 
corrected and suppressed them tiut>ugh the regular and systematic 
application of agricultural effort. Many of these soforces were, so to 
speak, perverted, while others were held in check by monoculture, by 
a slave-holding and latifundiary regime that, in place of encouraging 

^^^F. P. Armitage: Diet and Race Newer Knowledge of Nittrhiov — the 
(London and New York, 192:); E. V. Use of Foods for the Preservation of 
McCollum and Nina Simmonds: The Vitality and Health (New York, 1929). 

Copyrighted material 

The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 47 

their evolutíon, choked them and dried them up, destroying their 
freshness and spontaneity. For nothing so disturbs the equilibrium of 
nature as monoculture, above all when the plant that is to dominate 
the region is of extraneous origin—so notes Professor Konrad G^- 
ther.^^ This was precisely the case with Brazil 

In the formation of our society the bad system of alimentation, 
deriving from monoculture on the one hand and from lack of adapta- 
don to the climate ^ on the odier, had its effect upon the physical 
development and economic efficiency of the Brazilian in the same way 
as would a depressing climate and a chemically poor soiL The same 
latifundiary, »ave-holding economy that rendered possible the eco- 
nomic development of Brazil, giving it a relative stabili^ in contrast 
to the turbulent neighboring countries, was the one tnat poisoned 
and perverted its sources of nutrition, the sources of life itself. 

The best nourished, let us repeat, in this society based upon slavery 
were the two extremes: the whites of the Big Houses and the Negroes 
of the slave huts. Ic is natural that the strongest and healthiest elements 
of our population should have descended from the slaves. The 

"^Konrad Gunther: Das Antlkz 
Brasiliens (op. cit.). 

In an interesting article, ^^Fitn- 
dcnnentos Científicos da Alimentação 
Racional nos Climas Quentes'^ ("Sci- 
entific Bases of a Rational Diet in Hoc 
Qimates"), Brasil Médico^ Rio de 
Janeiro, ano XLV, No. 40, the phy- 
sician Sinval Lins recently took up 
this subject. As he sees it, the Bra- 
zilian remains, so far as his diet is 
ooDcemed, an individual who is mi- 
adapted to his dimate. *'He eats too 
many sweets ... in midsummer, 
when everything invites him to pro- 
tea himself from the heat; he in- 
dulges in too many gieaay dishes and, 
at times, alcoholic oevenges as well 
. . . he takes too many liquids at 
mealtime without observing that the 
more he drinks, the greater his . . , 
taste for spicy foods ... he almost 
never eats any leguminous vegetables. 
• . . The consecjuences of such er- 
rors," the hygienist adds, "have long 
since made themselves felt. Our teeth 
are weak and rotting from lack of 
calcium— that is to say, of vegetables. 
. . .** Other that suffer are 

'*the skin, the kidneys, liio scomach.*' 

Sinval Lins hys stress xxpoa. die Bra- 
zilian's "postprandial sluggishness,'* at- 
tributing to it "that fatigue of which 
so many of us complain," another 
cause for vi^iich he finds in "the auto- 
intoxication resulting from an abuse 
of nitrates and that constipation 
which is so very common among us 
and which is due to a lack of fruit 
and vegetables in our diet. . . ." Qi- 
mate, he believes, is unjustly held re- 
sponsible for this fatigue. Similarly 
Dr. Araujo Lima, in studying the diet 
of the populations in the far north 
of Brazil, insists upon the importance 
of die factor of alimeotatiflii in in- 
terpreting that "legendary indolence 
of mdividuals in these parts, of which 
so much is heard to their discredit."— 
J. F. de Araujo Lima: '^Ligeira con' 
tribtdção ao estudo do problema ali' 
merutar das populações rurais do 
Amazonas" ("Slight Contribution to 
the Study of the Problem of Alimen- 
tation among the Rural Populations of 
the Amazon"), Boletim Sanitário, Rio 
de Jannro, 1923, ano 2, No. 4. 

Copyrighted material 

48 The Masters and the Slaves 

athletes, the capoeiras,^'^ the "cabras," the deep-sea sailors. It is 
likewise natural that from the middle classes, free but poverty- 
stricken in their conditions of life, should have come many of the 
worst elements, the weakest and most incapable. It was chiefly these 
latter who, owing to the lack of vigor that is induced by under- 
nourishment, fell a prey to paludic anemia, beriberi, worms, and 
buboes. And when all this piactically useless population of caboclos 
and light-skinned mulatcoes, worth more as clinical material than 
they are as an ecmioaiic force, is discovered in the state of physical 
wretchedness and non-productive inertia in which Miguel Pereira and 
Belisário Penna found them living -in such a case those who lament 
our lack of racial purity and the fact that Brazil is not a temperate 
climate at once see in this wretchedness and Inertia the result of 
intercourse, forever damned, between white men and black women, 
between Portuguese males and Indian women. In other words, the 
inertia and the indolence are a matter of race. Or else it is the climate, 
which is suited only to the Negro. And thus is death-sentence passed 
upon the Brazilian for the reason that he happens to be a mestizo and 
Brazil in large part chances to lie within die torrid zone. 

AU of which means litde to this particular school of sociology, 
which is more alarmed by the stigmata of miscegenation than it is by 
those of syphilis, which is more concerned with the effects of climate 
than it is with social causes that are susceptible to control or rectifica- 
tion; nor does it take into account the influence exerted upon mestizo 
populations— above all, the free ones-by the scarcity of foodstuffs 
resulting from monoculture and a system of slave labor; it disregards 
likewise the chemical poverty of the traditional foods that these 
peoples, or rather all Brazilians, with a regional exception here and 
there, have for more than three centuries consumed; it overlooks the 
irregularity of food supply and the prevailing lack of hygiene in the 
conservation and distribution of such products. There are still 
populations today-or, better, there are more today than there were 
in colonial times— that are very badly noori^ed. The researches of 
Araujo Lima lead to the conclusion that the greater part of our 
northern caboclos— lynczYLy looked upon by the naive as a huge 

Capoeira is an untranslatable Barroso: Pequeno Dicionário Bra- 
Brazilian term, signifying here an in- sileiro da Lingua Fortuffiesa), (Trans- 
dividual who engages in the attiletic lator.) 

pastime of the aune name, In which A a^ra Is a ^ve mesdzo of 

the participant, "armed with a razor African-white or African-white-In- 

or a knife, widl rapid and charac- dian ancestry. (Translator.) 

teristic gestures goes through the mo- ^^a Sec note following. (Translator), 
tions of criminal acts" (Lima and 

The Portuguese Colonization of Bradl 49 

reserve of Brazilian vitality— have been reduced to a "state of organic 
inferiority . . . which at times amounts to an open breakdown." 
Speaking of the caboclo, this hygienist writes: "... his economic 
and social value is annulled by a nutritional insufficiency that» abetted 
by alcoholism and by the double dystrophic action of swamp fever 
and worms, must be recognized as one of the factors of his physical 
and mental inferiority." 

^J. F. de Araujo Lima, (aitiòle 
deed m note 119 above). This ob- 
servation regarding the caboclo of the 
far north might be applied in general, 
with certain regional restrictions here 
and there, to the poor Brazilian in 
the other rural sections. In certain 
legioas of the lower Amazon Araujo 
Lima met workers from the great cot- 
ton plantations who lived exclusively 
on a single meal of manihot paste 
widi rice, taken in the morning. A 
»bêy whose base is floor and water, 
so poor in vitamins, constitutes very 
frequently an individual's sole nour- 
ishment in twenty-four hours." 

Azevedo Pimentel had previously 
discovered practically the same con^ 
ditions among the inhabitants of cen- 
tral Brazil, where the "lack of a 
balanced diet and the perversions of 
organic nutrition" due to "unsuitable 
almientary substances containing litde 
nourishment" have proved more dev- 
astating in their effects than syphilis 
and other venereal diseases. The one 
who threw into relief the situation 
existing among our rural populations, 
badly nourished and the ready victims 
of a macabre series of aíHictions— 
swamp fever, beriberi, ancylostomia- 
sis, dysentery, leprosy, syphilis— was 
Mi^el Pereira, whose findings were 
ratified by Belisário Penna. With ref- 
erence to the rural and backlands 
populations of Paraíba, José Américo 
de Almeida has this to say: "The or- 

{;anic suffering brought about by the 
adc of vitality and Insufficiency of 
diet Is a field made ready for in- 
vasion by the ordinary means of in- 
fection."— A Paratba e Seus Pro- 
blemas (Paraíba and Its Problems) 

(Paraíba, 1924). On th» subject see 

also the replies made in the course of 
the investigation carried out in 1778 
by the Senate of Rio de Janeiro, re- 
garding the climate and heakhf ulness 
of that dty (Ajmrnf Brasiiiemet de 
Medicina, VoL II, ano 2, No* f). See 
die Diseursã delivered at the anni- 
versar\'' session of the Imperial Acad- 
emy of Medicine, Julv 30, 1847, by 
Roberto Jorge Haddock Lobo (Rio 
de Janeiro, 1848). See, in addid<m: 
J. F. X. Sigaud: Du climat et des 
maladies du Brcsil (Paris, iS44>; A. 
Hendu: Études snr le Brésil (Paris, 
i8^8)i J" A. B. Imbert: Ensaio Hy- 
gienico 0 Médico sobre o Ctíma do 
Rio de Jmuiro e o Repme Alimentar 
de Seus Habitantes (Hygienic and 
Medicai Treatise on the CVmiate of 
Rio de Janeiro and the Diet of Its 
Inhabitants) (Rio de Janeiro, 1837); 
José Marrins da Cruz Jobim: Discurso 
sobre as que Mais Afjligem 
a Classe Pobre do Rio de Janeiro . . . 
(Discourse on the Aibnents That 
Most Afflict the Poorer Class of Rio 
de Janeiro . . .) (Rio de Janeiro, 
1835); Azevedo Pimentel: Subsidias 
para o Estudo da Hygiene do Rio de 
Janeiro {Aids to the Study of the 
Hygiene of Rio de Janeiro) (Rio de 
Janeiro, 1890); Acevedo Pimentel: O 
Brasil Central (Central Brazil) (Rio 
de Janeiro, 1907); Louis Couty: 
''VAVnficvtatinn au Brésil ct dans les 
pays voisins" Rciiie dl:y(;iè72e de 
Paris, 1881; Eduardo Magalhães: Hi- 
pene Alimentar (Alimentary Hy- 
giene) (Rio de Janeiro, 1908); Alfredo 
Antônio de Andrade: Alimentos 
Brasileiros^'' ("Brazilian Foodstuffs"), 
Annais da Faculdade de Medicinado 

Copyrighted material 

50 The Masters and the Slaves 

It was not only the great mass of freemen— free, however wretched 
—that must have been affected by this alimentary insufficiency, but 
those extremes of our population as well: the big landowning families 
and the slaves of the senzalas, the two classes in whom Coutv was to 
encounter, in the absence of a "people," the only social realities to be 
found in Brazil.^"* If we regard the lords of the manor and their 
slaves as being well nourished-the latter, in a certain sense, better 

Rio de JaneirOy Vol. VI (1922); Al- 
berto da Cunha: '■^Higiene Alimentar, 
Arquivos de HigimCf No. 11, Rio de 
Janeiro; Manuel Queríno: A Arte 
Culmâría na Báa (CuliTutry Art m 
Bahia) (Bahk, 1928); Theodore Peck- 
holt: História das Plantas Alimentares 
e de Gozo do Brasil (History of Ali- 
mentary and Palatable Plants of Bra- 
2U) (Rio de Janeiro, 1871). The sta- 
dent may also be referred to the fol- 
lowing doctoral theses: Antonio José 
de Sousa: Do Regimen das Classes 
Pobres e dos Escravos na Cidade do 
Rio de Seus AUmeraos e 

Bebidas {On the Diet of the Poor 
and the Slaves in the City of Rio de 
Janeiro, Their Food and Drinks) 
(Medical Faculty of Rio de Janeiro, 

1851 ) ; José Maria Regadas: Do Regi- 
men das Classes Abastadas no Rio de 
Janeiro (Diet of the Well-to-do 
Classes in Rio de Janeiro) (Rio de 
Janeiro, 1852); José Rodrigues de 
Lima Duarte: Ensaio sobre a Hygiene 
da Escravatura no Brasil (Treatise on 
the Hygiene of Slavery in Brazil) 
(Rio de Janeiro, 1849); Antonio Cor- 
rea de Sousa Costa: Qual a Alimen- 
tação de que Vive a Classe Pobre do 
Riode Janeiro e Sim Influência sobre 
a Mesma Classe (The Diet of the 
"Poorer Class in Rio de Janeiro and 
Its InfJuejice upon That Class) (Rio 
de Janeiro, 1865); Francisco Fernan- 
des Padilha: Qual o Regi?nen das 
Classes Pobres do Rio de Janeirof 
(What Is the Diet of the Poor in 
Rio de Janeiro?) (Rio de J;inciro, 

1852) ; Francisco Antonio dos Santos 
Sousa: Ali?nentação na Baía (Diet in 

Bahia) (Faculty of Medicine of Ba- 
hia, 1909); Renato Souza Lopes: Reg- 
imen Alimentar nos Cli7?ias Tropicaias 
(Diet in Tropical Countries) (Riode 
Janeiro, 1909). 

Numerous Brazilian works have 
been published recently on the prob- 
lem of alimentation in our country. 
Among them may be mentioned those 
by the phpidans Silva Mello, Sin^ 
Lins, Josué de Castro, Ruy Coutinho, 
Gama e Sousa, Peregrino Júnior, and 
Dante Costa. The preceding bibliog- 
raphy, published in the iirsc edition of 
this essay, has been widely transcribed 
and cited by a number ci these ait- 

Louis Couty: VEsclavage an 
Bresil (Paris, i88i), p. 87. This is 
likewise die opinion of die clearest 
of our political thinkers, Professor 
Gilberto Amado, in the study that 
he has made of our slave-holding so- 
ciety from the political point of view; 
"/li Instituções Politicas e 0 Meio 
Social do BrasiP* (**Political InstítW' 
tions and Social Milieu in Brazil"), 
in Grão de Areia (Grain of Sand) 
(Rio de Janeiro, 1919). Dom Luiz de 
Souza Botelho, Governor of the capi- 
tânia of São Paulo during die secoind 
half of the eighteenth century, had 
written: "In this land there is no 
people, and for that reason none to 
serve the State; with the exception 
of a very few mulattoes who tuliill 
its functions, die majority arc gentry 
or slaves who serve me gentry. 
(Paulo Prado: Paulistieo, 2nd edidon, 
Rio de Janeiro, i934)> 

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The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 5 1 

nourished than the former It h merely in relation to the back- 
woodsmen, the inhabitants of the open country, the Indians, retainers^ 
and impoverished sertanejos?^ These are, by Couty's count, those 
six milUon useless beings out of a population of twelve milUon con- 
stituting that enormous void which to him appeared to exist in Brazil 
between the plantation-owner and the N^oes of the huts. ^La 
situation fonctionnelle de cette popuktian peut se résumer d*un mot: 
le Brésil lia pas de peuple": so writes Gouty; ^ and the French 
scientist's words were to be repeated two years later by Joaquim 
Nabuco. "There are millions," wrote Nabuco in 1883, 'Vho find 
themselves in this intermediate condition which is neither diat of a 
slave nor that of a citizen. . . Useless pariahs fivii^ in straw huts, 
sleeping in hammocks or on the highway, a water-jug and a pot for 
cooking their only utensils, their diet consisting of m«d with codfish 
or salt beef, and 'Svith a guitar alongride a holy image to complete 
the picture." 

From reading the chronicles of Cardim and Soares we are 
accustomed to think of the plantation-owners as a lot of gluttons amid 
a rich variety of ripe fruits, fresh greens, and excellent loins of beef, 
seated at the groaning board and eating like mad in the company 
of their famihes, dependants, friends, and guestsj yet the truth is that 

^ Theodoro Bechok (op. dc, note 
123, above) arrives at the conclusKMi 
that the European laborer of the era 
was "less well nourished" than the 
Brazilian slave. **Thus the slave in 
Brazil, and the plantation laborer in 
geoeral,*' he wntes, "has from a re- 
moce period been given a good and 
nourishing diet, based upon experi- 
ence and not upon scientific calcula- 
tion." He is referring to the laborer 
under the patriarchal regime; it was 

to the proprietor's interest to mpply 
the worker with good food. 

12a Xhe author here makes use of a 
number of rather vague, or general, 
BraziUan terms, sudi as: matutos 
(badcwoodsmen); caipiras (inhabit- 
ants of the campo t or open country); 
caboclos (Indians); and sertanejos 
(inhabitants of the sertao, or back- 
iands). (Translator.) 

"^Loc. cit. 

Joaquim Nabuoo: O AboUeion' 

ismo (London, 1883). Herbert S. 
Smidi also speaks of this intermediate 

class of useless pariahs, which he en- 
countered on his journeys into the 
interior of Brazil at the end of the 
nineteenth century.— Do Bio de 
Janeiro a Cuiabá (From Bio de Jo- 
neiro to Cldab£) (São Paulo, Caieiras, 
Rio de Janeiro, 1922). He attributes 
the poverty and economic incapacity 
of the backwoodsmen {matutos) to 

the fact that they are a mixture of 
Indian and Negro, forgetting that if 

he were to take a trip in his own 
country through the old slave-hold- 
ing south and the Kentucky and Car- 
olina mountains, he would encounter 
the same human detritos— in this case 
white: the "poor whites." 

Father Fernão Cardim and Ga- 
briel Soares de Sousa, sixteenth-cen- 
tury chroniclers and letter-writers. 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

the lords of the manor, of Pernambuco and Bahia, were insufficiently 
nourished, their diet consisting principally of a bad quality of beef 
with only now and then a few worm-eaten fruits, rarely any vege- 
tables. Such abundance or high qualit)^ of food as might be found in 
any particular instance would be the exception and not the rule 
among these large estate-owners. They were foolish enough to import 
a good part of their food supplies from Portugal and the Islands, and 
the result was that their victuals were often badly preserved, widi 
meats, cereals, and even dried frutts losing their nutritive values when 
they did not still further deteriorate owii^ to faulty packing and the 
drcmnstances of slow and irregular transport. However strange it 
may seem, the table of our colonial aristocracy was lacking in fresh 
vegetables, fresh meat, and milk; and to this fact; surely, is to be 
ascribed the numerous ailments of the digestive tract common in that 
era, which by many an old-time doctor were attributed to the "bad 

As a result of the antagonism that speedily sprang up in Brazil 
between large-scale agriculture, or, better, the absorptive monocul- 
ture of the UttoraL and the cattle-nusing industry of the backlands, 
which was in its turn equally exclusive -each of them keeping as 
great a distance as possible between itself and the other— the agri- 
cultural population, including even the wealthy owners of leafi[ues 
of land, foand itself deprived of a constant and x^^ular supply of £esh 
f oodstufis. Cowan is right when he sees the historical development 
of most peoples as being condtrioned by the antagonism between 
nomadic and agricultural pursuits.^ In our country, from the earliest 
times, this factor had its effect upon the Brazilian's social evolution, 
acting upon it favorably in certain respects, but so far as alimentation 
is concerned, unfavorably. 

Bahia was quite typical of a latifundiary agriculture on the one 
hand and, on the other hand, of an absorptive catde indusdy, to such 
an extent that the vast majority of its lands came to belong to two 
families: iliat of the Senhor da Torre, and that of the lord of the 
open country, Antônio Guedes de Britto. The former possessed "260 
leagues of land along the São Francisco River, upstream on the right- 
hand side, then southward," and ''then along the said river to the 
north— 80 leagues." The latter family held '*i6o leagues . • • from 
the hill known as Morro dos Chapéus to the source of the Rio das 
Velhas." And it is a known fact that in Bahia, with its latfundia, 

ISO Andrew Reid Cowan: Master ^''^ André João Antonil: Cultura e 
Clues in World History (London, Opulência da Brasil por Suas Drogas 
1914). e Minas {Culture and Wealth of Bra- 

CopviiyikCJ 1 1 i UlCI lal 

The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 5 3 

the big landed proprietors, in order not to suffer damage to their 
crops (sugar or tobacco), were in the habit of avoiding domestic 
animals, "sheep and goats being looked upon as useless creatures," '-^^ 
while hogs were hard to raise for the reason that they became wild 
when allowed to run loose, and the herds of cattle were insufficient 
for "the provisioning of the plantations, the expenses of slaughtering, 
and the supplying of the ships.*' 

So great was die neglect of any other crop than sugar or tobacco 
diroughout the agricultural zone that eighteenth-century Bahia, with 
all its show of luxury, came to suffer "an extraordinary lack of flour." 
As a result, in 1788 the governors of the capitãma had a clause 
inserted in the land grants requiring the proprietor to plant % 
thousand mounds of manihot for each slave that he possesses, em- 
plo}^ in the cultivatíon of the land." ^ This was a kmd of precau- 
tion that had been taken by the Count of Nassau with regard to the 
plantarion-owners and farmers of Pernambuco in the seventeenth 

2/7, Its Drugs and Mines), with a bio- 
bibliographical study by Affonso de 
E. Taunay (São Paulo and Rio de 
Janeiro, 1943), p. 2Ó4. 

^ *lia. Older that die agriculturiscs 
may not suffer dama/gt to dieir crops, 
domestic animals are everywhere 
scarce," says Ayres de Cazal, in his 
work already cited: Chorographia 

^Ayse$ de Cazal, op. cit., 11, p. 
119.— Oizal attributes this fact to 
the circumstance that the pasture- 
grounds wtTc not good as a rule, 
while there was "prevailingly ... a 
lack of water." But this Is not to lose 
sight of the social cause: "that the 
agriculturists may not suffer damage 
to their crops." Referring to the ab- 
sence of cattle, Capistrano de Abreu 
observes that this was to "protect the 
cane fields and other plantations from 
their iniozds." —Diálogos das Gratt' 
dezaz do Brasil, with an Introduction 
by Capistrano de Abreu and notes by 
Rodolfo Garcia (edition of the Bra- 
zilian Academy of Letters, Rio de 
Janeiro, 1930), p. 13. [On the D/i/o- 
gosy see note 115 above. (Transla- 

134 "Fragments of a Memoir on the 
Plantings of Bahia" (copy of a manu- 
script that appears to have belonged 
to the library of the late Marques de 
Aguiar, and which is possibly from 
his pen), to be found in the Livro 
das Terras ou Collecção da Lei, Reg- 
tda7)ie7nos e Ordens Expedidos a Res- 
peito desta Matéria até ao tresente 
. . • (Book of the LandSf or CoUec- 
thn of the Laws, ReguhthnSf and 
Ordinances with Respect to This 
Mattery doini to the Present Time 
. . . ) (2nd edition, Rio de Janeiro, 
i860), p. 24. 

Hermann Wi^en, op. cit.— 
Among the documents in the Royal 
Archives of The Í i;igue, relating to 
Brazil and published in the Rccista 
do instituto Arqticológico e Geográ- 
fico de Pmumèueo, No. 33 (Redfe, 
1887), are to be found a number of 
decrees of this sort. For that matter, 
as far back as the sixteenth century 
we come upon evidence of govern- 
mental intervention with the object 
of regularizing the cultivation of 
those foodstuffs sacrificed to the 
glowing of sugar. In the Acts of the 
Chamber of São Paulo (1562-1Ó01), 

UopyiiyhiOG inaiuiial 

54 The Masters and the Slaves 

It is true that Padre Fernão Cardim, in his Treatises, is always 
speaking of the abundance of meat, game, and e\ en of fruit and 
greens tliat he met with everywhere in sixrecnth-ccnturs^ Brazil 
among the rich and in the schools kept by the priests.^^*^ But we must 
bear in mind that Cardim was a visiting cleric and as such was 
received on the plantations and in the schools with exceptional 
feasts and repasts. He was a personage for whom the most that the 
colonists could do was little enough. The good impresâon produced 
by the laden tables and soft beds of the big slave-owners might 
possibly do away with the very bad impression that was conv^ed 
by the dissolute life that they all led on the sugar plantations: the 
sins that are committed there [on the plantations] are without num- 
ber; practically all live in a state of fornication, by reason of the many 
opportunities that are afforded; full of sins, they have an easy time of 
it in view of all that they do; great is the patience of God, who sufiíers 
all this." 

These huge feasts and banquets, all this ostentatious hospitality 
and abundance of food, do not enable us to form any precise idea of 
the diet of the big estate-owners, much less of the usual diet of the 
majority of the inhabitants. Commenting upon the description of a 
colonial feast in eighteenth-century Boston— a special banquet, on a 
festive occasion, with plum pudding, pork, chicken, bacon, beef, 
mutton, roast tnrkey, sauce, cakes, pies, cheese, etc. (all representing 
an excess of animal protein) -ProKssor Percy Goldthwait Stiles of 

Tammy found a requisition of the 
Governor-General of Brazil for 800 
alquiers of flour, destined for Per- 
nambuco, a capitânia that, because it 
was the most eiudusively devoted to 
sugar, wonld accordingly be die most 
exposed to a dearth of local food- 
stuffs. This requisition, however, was 
beyond the capacit\- of the Paulistas; 
had they furnished all that flour to 
Pérnambuco, they themselves would 
have been left in penury. "The Cham- 
ber," writes Taunav, "resolved to 
publish abroad, so that all the inhabit- 
ants of the town and district might 
know it, a decree in which the resi- 
dents were called upon to furnish 
flour, in obedience to a provision of 
the commander-in-chief {capitão- 
mor) and the judge {ouvidor) of the 
capitânia of São Vicente. All this un- 

der penalty of a fine of fifty cruzados 

and two years of banishment to the 
inhospitable regions of the Strait of 
Magellan. This great concern for the 
supplyii^ of flour shows us plainly 
enoi:^h how iir^rolar was die output 
of agriculture."— Affonso de E. Tau- 
nay: São Paulo nos Primeiros Tempos 
{São Paulo in the Early Days) 
(Tours, 1920). 

[The Brazilian alquier is roughly' 
equal to our bushel. The cruzado 18 
worth 400 reis. (Translator.)] 

Fernão Cardim: Tratados da 
Terra e Gente do Brasil {Treatises on 
the Land and People of Brasil) ^ with 
an Introduction «id Notes by 
tista Caetano, Capistrano de Abreu, 
and Rodolfo Garcia (Rio de Janeiro, 

Ibid., p. 321. 

Copyrighted material 

The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 55 

Harvard Univeráty very sensibly- observes that such an abundance 
was perhaps not epical of the ordinary everyday diet of the New 
England colonists; and he adds that such feasts were possibly com- 
pensated by fasdngs.^ It would seem that this might be applied with 
literal exactitude to the colonial banquets in Brazil, spaced as these 
were by periods of parsimonious eating, not to spealc of the fasts and 
abstinences whose observance was enjoined by Holy Mother Qmrdi; 
for the matriarchal shadow of the Church, then a much more power- 
ful and dmninant influence, was projected over the intimate and 
domestic life of the faithful to a far greater degree than it is tod^. 

From Father Gardim's descriptions of the old-time feasts and the 
allusions of Soares one is by no means justified in drawii^ the con- 
clusion that the daily diet of the colonists was always an abundant, 
nourishing, and varied one, or that Brazil during the first centuries of 
colonization was any such "land of Cockaigne" as Capistrano de 
Abreu, who is being a bit too literary for once, would imply that it 
wa&^ Even in Cardim himself we come upon this striking bit of 
realism: 'In the school of Bahia there is never lacking a little glass of 
die wine of Portugal, without which it would be iniposs3>Ie for 
nature to sustain itself, the earth being left to he so unproductive and 
the sources of nourishment being so poor." It may be noted in 
passing that it was in this same wine of Portugal that the New 
England Puritans drowned their sorrows."* 

Land of Cockaigne— nothing of tlie sort. Brazil during its three 
cciiruncs of colonial life was a land of uncertain alimentation and 
ditiiculc sustenance. The shadow of a stcrihzing monoculture lay 
over all. I'hc rural gentry were always in debt, and termites, floods, 
and droughts seriouslv^ interfered with the food supply for the 
majority of the population. That Asiatic luxury which many imagine 
to have been ijcneral in the suíjar-raisiníí north was couiined to the 
privileged families of Pernambuco and Bahia, and even there it was 
but a partial luxur\^ of an unwholesome sort, being marked by an 
excess of certain things (at the cost of going into debt) and a 
scarcity of other tilings. Silk-lined palanquins, but in the Big Houses 
bare-tiled roofs with vermin dropping into the inmates' beds. 

In Pará in the seventeenth century "the families of certain noble- 
men" were unable to go to the city for the Christmas festivities 
( 1 66 1 ) 'Tor the reason that the young ladies, their daughters, had 

Percy Goldthwait Stiles: Nutri- i*® Op. cit., note 136 above, Appen* 
tional Physiology (Philade^yhia tnd dfac, p. 433. 
Bottoo, 1931). Ibid., p. 299. 

i''^ Stiles, op. cit. 

Cardim, op. cic, p. 334. 

Copyrighted material 

56 The Masters and the Slaves 

nothing to wear to Mass." From João Lúcio de Azevedo we learn 
that Antonio Vieira,^** when he reproved the Chamber of Pará for 
not having any slaughter-pen or grazing-ground in the city, met with 
the reply that it w^as impossible to remedy this condition "inasmuch 
as payment for ordinary food was out of the question." And the au- 
thor adds: "The common diet of game and fish, which were abundant 
in the early days, grew rare in proportion as the number of inhabitants 
increased. . . . The lands, left unfilled or wirhour intelligent cultiva- 
tion, lost their primitive fertility, and the inhabitants transferred their 
homes and labor to other regions." Writing from Maranhão, 
Father Vieira stresses the fact that in his day there was throughout 
the state '^neither slaiighter-peii nor grazing-ground nor kitchen 
garden nor shops where ordinary edibles were for sale." And 
speaking of the whole of Brazil, Father Anchieta tells us that the 
sbcteenth-centnxy oolomsts, even richest and most honored ones'^ 
and the missionaries, were accustomed to going barefoot in the 
manner of the Indians,^^^ a custom that would appear to have been 
handed down to the seventeenth century and the fidalgos of Olinda— 
those same ones of the silken beds for the ho^itable entertainment of 
die visiting padres and the silver knives and forks for feast-day 
banquets. Their finery, it may be, served only for state occasions. 
From a dinner that Maria Graham attended in Pernambuco early in 
the nineteenth century,**^ it would seem that our gentry of that era 
were in the habit of using silver forks— by way of impressing the 
English (though the English are rarely deceived by the glitter of gold 
and silver) with their dainty table manners. Nor should we forget 
that formidable contrast which existed in the life of the plantation- 
owners: fine gentlemen on horseback, silver stirrups and all, but 
inside the house they were so many barefooted Franciscans, clad in 
cotton nightgowns and at times merely in their drawers. As for the 
colonial dames, rich silks and a display of jewek and trinkets in 
church, but in the privacy of the home a chemise, a petticoat, house- 
slippers, and stoddngless iegs.^^ This airy costume was partly due to 

143 Berredo, in J. Lúcio de Aze- 
vedo: Os Jesuítas no Grão-Pará (The 
Jesuits in Grão-Fará) (2nd edition, 
Coimbra, 1930). 

i«« Seventeeitth-oentury missioiuiy 
and writer, renowned for the dó- 
quence of his st\^le, one of the out- 
standing figures in early Brazilian lit- 
erature. (Translator.) 

J. Lúcio de Azevedo, op. cit. 

^4*^ Father Antonio Vieira, in J, 
Lúcio dc A/evedo, op. cit. 

"^^'^ Informações e Fragfrientos HiS' 
târicos do Pãdre Joseph de AncbietOf 
SJ^ 1584-6 (Historical Data and 
Fragments by Father Joseph de An- 
chieta, SJ,) (Rio de Janeiro, 1886), 
p. 47. 

148 Maria Graham: Journal (op. cit.) 
i^On the negligence of dress 

Copyrighted material 

The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 57 

the climate, but it was at the same time an expression of colonial 
Fiandscfliusm as reflected in the everyday gaib as well as the diet oi 
many a gentleman of the time. 

Salvador da Bahia itself, when it was the city of the viceroys, 
inhabited by many rich Portuguese, in a land full of fidalgos and 
friars, won a reputation for its very bad and deficient food-supply. 
Everything was lacking: fresh beef, fowls, vegetables, fruit; and what 
there was to be had was of extremely poor quality or almost In a 
state of putrefaction. There was an abundance only of sweets, jellies; 
and pastries, made by the nuns in the ccmvents; and it was these diat 
rounided out the girdi of the brothers of the monastery and die lady 
of the house. 

Such was the state of alimentation in Brazilian society in the stx^ 
teenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries: bad upon the planta- 
tions and very bad in the cities— not only bad, but scarce. The Bishop 
of Tucumán, visiting Brazil in the seventeentii century, observed that 
in the cities he would "send out to buy a young cock, four eggs, and 
a fish, and they would bring nothing back, for the reason that nothing 
was to be found in the market place or at the butcher's." He accord- 
ingly had to make the rounds of the private houses of the rich.^'^^ 
Father Nobrega's letters speak of the "lack of edibles," and from 
the letters of Anchieta we learn that there was not a slaughterhouse 
in the town, the fathers of the school being obliged to raise a few 
head of cattle: "if they had not done so, they would have had nothing 
to eat." And he adds: "All are poorly nourished, despite their labor, 
for things here are very dear, costing three times what they do in 
Portugal." ^^'^ We further learn that the beef was deficient in fat: "not 
very fat for the reason that the land was not fertile in pasturage." 

among the people of colonial times, 
even the most illustrious, see James 
Henderson: A History of the Brazil 
(London, 182 1); and John Luccock: 
Notes on Rio de Janeiro and the 
Southern Parts of Brazil (London, 
1820). The latter work was recently 
published in Brazil in Portuguese 

The city of Bohn, capital of die 
province (now the stare) of the same 
name, rodav known as Salvador. 

^Histârut do Brasil, by Frei Vi- 
cente do Salvador, edidon revised by 

Capistrano de Abreu (São Paulo and 
Rio de Janeiro, 1918), pp. 16-17. 

[Frei Vicente do Salvador was a 
notable historian and prose-writer of 
the later sixteenth and early seven- 
teenth century. (Translator.)] 

Nóbrega: Cartas (op. cit.), p. 162. 
See the work of Anchieta cited 
in note 147 above, to be found in 
Materiaes e Achegas para a História 
e Geographia por Ordciu do Ministé- 
rio da Fazenda {Materials and Aids 
for History and Geography ^ by Or^ 
der of the Minister of Finance) (Rio 
de Janeiro, 1886), No. i, p. 34. 

^AncÚeca, opb dt, pb 50. 

Copyrighted material 

5 8 The Masters and the Slaves 

And once more it is Father Anchieta who informs us: "Some of the 
rich eat wheat-flour bread of Portugal, especially in Pernambuco and 
Bahia, anti from Portugal also come wine, olive oil, vinegar, olives, 
cheese, preserves, and other things to cat.** 

Such was the diet in Bahia of the viceroys, with its fidalgos and its 
rich burghers, clad always in the silk of Genoa, the linens and cotton 
cloth of Holland and of England, and even in gold cloth imported 
from Paris and Lyon. It was a diet in which the lack of meat was made 
up for by an overuse of fish, the ichthyophagous menu being varied 
with salt meat and cheese from the Kingdom, imported from Europe 
along with other articles of food." "One never sees a sheep and 
rarely a herd of cattle," says the Abbé Reynal in speaking of Bahia.*" 
Neither beef nor mutton nor even chicken was to be had. Neither 
fruits nor vegetables. Vegetables were extremely rare, and fruit when 
it reached the table was already worm-eaten or else had been plucked 
while still green to save it from the birds, the worms, and the insects. 
Such beef as was to be found was lean, the cattle coming from far 
away in the backlands, with no pasturage to refresh them after their 
arduous journey; for the great sugar and tobacco plantations would 
not permit pasture-grounds for steers coming from the backland 
regions and destined for the slaughter-pen. Those oxen and cows that 
were not emploj^d in agricultural service were looked upon as 
damned by the owners of the big estates. 

As for milk-cows, it is known that there were few of these on 
colonial plantations; almost no butter or cheese was made, and it was 
only now and then that beef was eaten. This is explained by Cap- 
istrano de Abreu as being due to "the difficulty oi raising herds in 
places unsuited to their propagation." As a result of this difficulty, 
the number of cattle was limited to those necessary for plantation 

is^ibid., p. 41. 

150"// y a quantité de BoeufSf de 
Cocbons, de Moutom, de Voldlles & 
de Gibier; mm tout y est extréme' 
ment cber. La Flote qui y vient tom 

les cms de Portugal apporte des vins, 
des farines, de Phuile, dii fromage. 
. . So we read in the Relation du 
voyage autottr du monde de Mr. de 
Gennes au Détroit de Magellan, par 
le Sr. Fro get (Amsterdam, 1699), p. 
81. See also La Barbinais: Nouveau 
Voyage autour du monde (Paris, 

157 "Qtj w'y voit point de ifwiitons; 
la volatile y est rare & le boeitj ?fiai- 
vais. Let fourms y désolent, comme 
dans le reste de la coUnáe, les frtdts 
et les legumes, D^un autre coté, les 
trnis, les farines, tous les vivres qii'on 
apporte d'Europe, n'arrivent pas tou- 
jours bien conserves, Ce qiu a échappé 
â la corruption est d^une cberté prodi- 
gieuse.**—Histoire phUosopbique et 
politique des établissevtents & du 
commerce des Européefis dam les 
deux Indes (Geneva, 1775), Vol. Ill, 
p. 91. 

Copyriyi iicu I : i ulCI lal 

The Portuguese Colanizatian of Brazil 5 9 

work."^ It was the shadow of monoculture projecting itself for 
leagues round about the sugar-factories, stcriHzing and stifling every- 
thing save the cane fields and the men and cattle in its service. 

Not only at Bahia, Pernambuco, and Maranhão, but at Sergipe 
d'£l-Rei and Rio de Janeiro as well this phenomenon, with greater or 
less intensity, was to be found existing -the phenomenon, so disturb- 
ing to the eugenics of Brazilian life, of the scarcity of fresh food, 
whether animal or vegetable. But possibly nowhere was it so acutely 
felt as at PemambiKO.^^ This was the capitânia that, par excellence, 
was given over to sugar-raising and large estates; and at the end of the 
eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century it was reck- 
oned to be the best land for agricultural purposes, átuated as it was 
near the sea and under the control of eight or ten plantation-owners 
among some two hundred inhabitants of the region— ''among two 
hundred inhabitants, eight or ten proprietors**— proprietors who ordi- 
narily permitted their tenants to "plant cane and keep the half of 
it." It was here that the lack of those foods that are of prime 
necessity made itself most painfully felt at times. It was in vain that 
the G>tint of Nassau, in the seventeenth century, had undertaken to 
correct this unbalanced condition in the economic life of the great 
sugar-growing capitânia. And as in Bahia and Pernambuco, so in Rio 
de Janeiro the câtde never arrived for ''the consumption of the 
butchers and the provisioning of the plantations."^ Indeed, the 
presence of cattle on the sugar-cane plantations, or even near them, 
was dunned; and furthermore, as in the northern capitânias, the lands 
in the province of Rio de Janeiro were concentrated in the hands of 
a few: the great sugar-planters-including the friars of the Monastery 

Capistrano de Abreu: Introduc- 
tion to ilie Diálogos das Grandezas do 

Brasil (op. cit.). 

The reader may be referred to a 
sixtcenth-ccnrur\' document that is 
almost unknown in Brazil: "A dis- 
oooise of the West Indies and South 
Sea written by Lopez \''az a Portugal 
borne in the citie of EUvas continued 
unto the vcre 1587," etc., included in 
Richard Hakluyt's Voyages (op. cit.). 
Vol. VIII, p. 172. In this work we 
read of Pemambuco in the siztemdi 
century, so opulent in sugar planta* 
tions: ". . . yet are they in great 
want of victuals that come either 

from Portugal or from some places 
upon the coast of BraziL** The 8car> 

city extended even to flour: "of 
which there is ordinarily a dearth," 
we are told by Ayrcs de Cazal (op. 
cit.).— On the social background of 
Rio de Janeiro see Alberto Lamego: 
A Terra Goitacâ {The Land of the 
Goitacâ Indians) (Rio de Janeiro, 
1913-25); sec also Alberto Lamego 
fils: Planicie do Solar e da Senzala 
(Plain of the Country House and 
Slave Hut) (Rio de Janeiro, 1933). 

Ayres de Cazal, op. dt.. Vol. n, 
p. 146. 
161 Ibid., p. 45. 


6o The Masters and the Slaves 

of St. Benedict. Under a similar regime of monoculture, big land- 
ownership, and slave labor, the population never enjoyed an abun- 
dance of cereals and green vegetables. 

In short, the nutrition of the Brazilian colonial family, that of the 
plantations and notably that of the cities, astonishes us by its bad 
quality, its obvious poverty of animal proteins and possibly of 
albuminoids in general, its lack of vitamins, of calcium and other 
mineral salts, and, on the other hand, its comparative richness in 
toxins. The Brazilian of good rural stock would find it hard to follow 
the example of the Englishman by tracing his ancestry back over a 
long period with the certainty of coming upon ten or a dozen genera- 
tions of forebears who had been well nourished on beefsteak, vege- 
tables, milk and eggs, oatmeal, and fruits, a diet that assured a pro- 
longed eugenic development, sturdy health, and a physical robustness 
such as would not leadily be disturbed or affected by other, social 
influences where a nutritional hygiene was the predominant factor. 

If, contrary to the extremists— those who believe that everything is 
to be explained by diet the quantity and composition of foods 
are not enough in themselves to determine differences in morphology 
and psychology, the degree of economic capacity and of resistance 
to disease in human societies, their importance is none the less con- 
siderable, as is being shown by researches and investigations in this 
field. An attempt today is being made to rectify the anthropo-geog- 
raphy of those who, oblivious of diet, would attribute everythu^ to 
the factors of race and climctte; and in this work of rectification Bra- 
zilian society must be included, for it is the example of which alarmists 
make so mudi use in crying about the mixture of races and the 
malignity of the tropics in support of their thesis that man's degenera- 
tion is the effect of climate or of miscegenation. Ours is a society that 
historical investigation shows to have been, throughout a broad phase 

162 Proteins of animal origin, of 
high biologic value, or "proteins of 
the first class," to distinguish them 
from those of vegetable origin. For 
the most modem criticism with re- 
spect to the classification of proteins, 
see Report of Cormnittee on Nutri- 
tioTij by E. K. Le Fleming and others, 
supplement to the British Medical 
Jounuãy Vol. n (1933). 

E. V. McColIum and Nina Sim- 
monds, in their work The Newer 
Knoivlcdgc of Nutrition (New York, 
1929), oppose to Huntington's crite- 

rion that of diet. By it they explain, 
among other things attributed to the 
influence of climate or of race, the 
diffeienoe that within a few genera^ 
tions is to be found in Englishmen of 
the same stock: those that emigrated 
from Georgia at the end of the eight- 
eenth century, some for Canada, 
odieis for the Bahama Islands. The 
diet of the former was mflk, vegeta- 
bles, meat, and an abundance of 
wheat; that of the latter, one resem- 
bling the diet of Brazilians. 

Copyrighted material 

The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 6 1 

of its development^ one of the most lacking in eugenic prestige of all 
modem peoples, one of those whose economic capacity has been to 
the largest extent compromised by a deficiency of nutrition. Moreover, 
carried still further, back to the ancestors of the European colonizer 
of Brazil -those of even the most outstanding among the colonists- 
such investigation will reveal in the peninsula of the fifteenth and 
sixteenth centuries, as we shall see a little later on, a people whose 
ph3rsical vigor and hygiene had been profoundly disturbed by a 
pernicious combination of economic and social influences. One of 
these was of a religious nature: the abuse of fasts. 

It is possible now to make certain generalizations regarding the 
sources of the Brazilian's food supply and his nutritional regime. As 
to the sources— vegetation and waters-they reflect the chemical 
poverty of the soil, which over a large area has little caldum.^"* As 
to the diet, when it is not deficient in quality as well as in quantity, it 
always shows a lack of balance.^" This latter condition is general, 
among the well-to-do classes as well as others. This deficient in 
quality and in quantinr, this alimentary parsimony, has been the lot 

die greater part of die populanon-a parsimony that is at times 
disguised to give an illusion of abundance such as is produced by 
manihot flour diluted with water.*'' 

i*^In a study of the nntritive value 

of Brazilian foods, Alfredo Antonio 
de Andrade stresses the fact that cal- 
cium "is thinly distributed in the soil 
of Brazil, being concentrated in very 
rich deposits at certain points in our 
territory.** Plants **do not commonly 
contaiii it in a high degree." This 
practical! \^ amounts to a death-sen- 
tence, in the light of modern research, 
which indicates that "the defense of 
die organism revolves about calcium, 
eqiecidly so far as resistance to infec- 
tion and dvscratic diseases is con- 
cerned; it is upon calcium that all the 
phenomena subordinate to the activ- 
of the musdes, nerves, and glands 
depend, taken in proper proportions 
wnh the ions, sodium, potassium, and 
magnesium. Unfortunately, this scar- 
city is to be found also in our waters. 
. . ."—Alfredo António dc Andrade: 
Alknemos BrasUeiros (op. cit.). It is 
doubtful if calcium in water has the 
impoitmoe that Andrade attributes to 

it. At any rate, the results of re- 
searches carried on amcmg the inhab- 
itants of the Alps, in a region in 
which the drinking-water is particu- 
larly rich in calcium, run counter to 
his opinion. Rickets was found there 
just as in r^ions relatively pom in 
calcium. See A. F. Hess: Rickets^ /«- 
chiding Osteoinalacia and Tetanjy 
(London: Henry Kimpton, 1930), p. 
51, cited b^ Ruy Coutinho: Valor So- 
cial da Altmentaçio (Social Value of 
Alhucutatioji) (São Paulo, 1935). 

^^'^ Antônio Martins do Azevedo 
Pimentel: Subsidias para o Estudo da 
Higiene do Rio de Janeiro (op. cit. 
note 123 above). 

Flour— a carbohydrate -food 
widi second-class protein, and poor 
in vitamins and mineral salts— has lit- 
tle nutritional value. Even when taken 
in its natural state, or dr)% as a student 
of Bahian diet picturesquely observed 
in 1909, "it doubles in volume. 
Strongly distending the walls of the 

Copyrighted matsrial 


The Masters and the Slaves 

The poverty of the Brazihan soil in calcium is somcrhin£r that 
eludes all social control or rectification by man; but an explanation 
for the other two factors will be found in the social and economic 
history of our people: in monoculture and in the system of slave labor 
and big estates, responsible for the reduced consumption of milk, eggs, 
and vegetables among the majority of the population of Brazil,**' 
These factors do admit of correction and control. 

If Í exclude the São Paulo populations from our generalization re- 
garding the effect of alimentary deficiency upon the formation of 
Brazilian society, it is for the reason that the conditions to which they 
were subject were a little different from those that prevailed in the 
province of Rio de Janeiro and in the north: geological and mecero- 

intestines . . and may give rise to 
"abnormal fermentations." In addi- 
tion, owing to the "presence of ligne- 
ous fibers of numihoc root,** it con- 
tributes to "the focmation of hard- 
ened fecal cakes, constituting true 
fecalo?nas, capable of resisting the 
strongest cnctnas and the most en- 
ergetic purgatives. . . ."—Francisco 
Antonio dos Santos Sousa: Alimentã- 
ção na Bahia {Aliinentation in Bahia), 
thesis presented to the Fricnlry of 
Medicine of Bahia (Bahia, 1909). 
There was recently in Brazil a kind 
of mystic exaltation of manihot flour, 
based in part upon conclusions that 
would appear to have been precipi- 
tated hv rhe researches of São Paulo 
specialists; but the investigations later 
made by Dr. Antenor Machado at the 
Institute of Chemical Agriculture of 
the Ministry of Agriculture indicate 
that ordinary manihot flour does not 
contain vitamin B, while the coarse 
variety shows only traces of that vita- 

^^"^ In his work O Frobleim Fisioló- 
gico da Alimentação Brasileira {The 
Physiological Proble7)i of Alimenta- 
tion in Brazil)^ Josué de Castro, from 
the physiological point of view and 
that of the most recent technique in 
his own specialized field, arrives at 
the same general conclusions as mine 
by taking a sociological criterion and 
sounding the Brazwan's antecedents: 

to the effect that "many of the un- 
wholesome consequences for which 
the unfavorable effects of our climate 
are blamed are the result of the small 
amount of attention that is paid to the 
basic problems of diet." As I see it, 
however, he is wholly in error when 
he considers those foods that arc rich 

in carbohydrates as being ''cheaply 
and readily obtainable by reason of 
their natural abundance in an agricul- 
tural coumr)' such as ours." "The 
habitual and instinctive diet of the 
poorer, working classes," he goes on 
to say, "is in mis respect in aooocd 
widi basic phyâological prindples." 
This essay endeavors to bring out 
precisely the contrary: that monocul- 
ture in our country always renders 
difficult the cultivation of vegetables 
destined for alimentary purposes. To 
this dav the effect is to be perceived 
in the diet of Brazilians— that of the 
rich and especially that of the poor. 
in Úas diet v^etables are rate; some 
fruit or other, a sugar- l>ir or bit of 
molasses, a little fresh lish or game— 
this niav, God willing, break the mo- 
notony of the poor man's diet, which 
commonly consists of meal, jerked 
beef, and codfish. Even beans are a 
luxury. And meal oftentimes is ladc- 
ing. In colonial days there were suc- 
cessive "meal crises," and these were 
also experienced in the period of in- 

Copyrighted material 

The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 63 

logical conditioiis favoring a diversiáed agriculture, mcluding even 
the culdvadon, though not to any great extent, of wheat; the prob- 
ably superior chemical composidon of tbe soil, resuldng in a greater 
wealth of products for purposes of nutridon; the social and economic 
background of the first setders, who possessed neither the tradinons 
and tendencies nor the pecuniary resources of the colonizers of 
Pernambuco, but who were for the most part blacksmiths, carpenters, 
tailors, stonemasons, and weavers, and who were more given to a 
semi-rural and gregarious life than they were to monoculture and big 
estates; and fiimlly-another economic cause-the fact that on the 
São Páulo pbteau the two acdvides, agricultural and pastoral,^"" were 
concentrated and there did not exist that Balkan division, as one might 
almost term it; between separate and, so to speak, inimical forces sudi 
as conditioned the development of Bahia, Maranhão, Pernambuco, 
and Rio de Janeiro. 

The generalizadons of Professor Oliveira Vianna, who depicts for 
us in such glowing colors a São Páulo populadon of landed proprietors 
and opulent rural squires, have been recendy corrected and their 
false gold and azure hues have been toned down by invesdgators who 
are more realistic and better documented than the illustrious sociolo- 
gist who wrote Southern Populations of Brazil}^ Reference is to such 
writers as AfFonso de E. Taunay,"*^ Alfredo Ellis, Jr.,"^ Paulo 

***In his Injonnação da Provmcia 
do Brasil para Nosso Padre (lnfor?na- 
tion Concerning the Province of Bra- 
zil for the Benefit of Our Father)^ a 
work published in 1585, Anchieta (p. 
45) tells us that in Firatininga the land 
consisted "of great prairies, very fer- 
tile in manv pasture-grounds and 
herds," a statement that corresponds 

with another one« also made in the 
sixteenth century^ as transcribed by 
Professor Taunay in Non Ducor, 
Duco (São Paulo, 1924). The author 
of this latter statement was Father 
Balthazar Fernandes, who wrote from 
Piratininga in 1569 that diere '*is 
much pasturage in the open country 
. . . belonging to anyone who wants 
it," in addition to "good food" and 
"much cattle." 

^Populações Meridiontàs do Bra- 
dL Vianna is also the author of Evo- 
hsçio do Pavo Brasileiro {Evolution 

of the Brazilian People) (Rio de Ja- 
neiro, 1929), and Raça e Assimilação 
(Race and Assiinilation) (São Paulo, 
193Z). He is the exponent of the 
"Aryanizadon*' d the Brazilian peo- 
ple through assimilation (absorption) 
by the white race. (Translator.) 

Professor Aifonso de E. Tau- 
ney's researches, which may be de- 
scribed as embodying a profowid his- 
torical realism, are among the most 
extensive in this field. To him we are 
indebted for important revisions and 
corrections in the social and economic 
history of our country. Prominent 
among his works is a ddinitive study 
of the bandeiras of Sao Paulo: Histó- 
ria Geral das Bandeiras Paulistas (São 
Paulo, 1924-9), which is perhaps the 
most serious bit of specialized histori- 
cal investigation that has ever been 
undertaken in Brazil. 
^''^Raga de Gigfmtes (op. dc). 

Copyrighted material 

64 The Masters and the Slaves 

Prado,^''^ and Alcantara Machado.*" Basing ourselves upon these 
authors and upon the exceedingly rich documentation published at 
the behest of Washington Luis,"* we must take issue with the con- 
ception that São Paulo was quite as aristocratic in its social develop- 
ment, quite as much given to large-scale landownership, as were the 
sugar-growing capitânias of the north. The contrary is the case: not- 
withstanding the deep disturbances occasioned by the ba?ideir antes, 
this was perhaps the society whose development proceeded with the 
greatest equilibrium. Especially so far as alimentation was concerned. 

Writing of the São Paulo settlers, Alfredo Ellis, Jr., says: "Their 
nutrition during the first centuries, in addition to being abundant, 
must have been very well balanced as to its chemical elements." In 
making this statement he is relying upon the data contained in the 
Inventories and Wills. "They had, moreover," he goes on to say, "not 
only an abundance of meat protein from their herds of cattle, but 
also pork, which is rich in fats of great value. They were, accordingly, 
carnivorous, even though they had a copious variety of cereal-yielding 
plants and other vegetables, such as wheat, manihot, com, beans, etc., 
which were planted all over the countryside and which contain a 
high percentage of carbohydrates that arc very rich in calories." 
Again it is Alfredo Ellis, Jr., who reminds us of the observation of 
Martius concerning the São Paulo populations: to the effect that 
diseases in Sao Paulo differ considerably in character from pathologi- 
cal conditions noted in Rio."^ Martius attributes this fact to the cUf- 

^'^Faulistícã {lúà editíoii, Rb de 

Janeiro, 1934). 

Vida e Morte do Bandeirante 
(op. cit.). 

l^^Espeddly the Invemâftos e 
Testamentos (Inventories and Wills), 
Archives of the State of São Paulo, 
i92o~r. [On the previously mentioned 
publication of these documents at the 
msdsatioa of Washington Lois, for- 
mer President of Brazil, see p. xxxviiL) 

C. F. P. von Martius, early nine- 
teenth-century German explorer and 
geographer, author with J. B. von 
Spiz of Reise in BrasUien (Munidi, 
1823-31; published in English transla- 
tion as Travels in Brazil^ 1817-1820 
(London, 1924). (Translator.) 

Writing from São Paulo (Ellis, 

op. cit.), Martius says: "There occur 
here with greater frequency rheu- 
matic diseases and inflammatory 
states, chiefly of the eyes, chest, and 
throat, with subsequent puhnooary 
and tracheal phdlisis, etc. On die 
other hand, gastric diseases are more 
rare, and there is not that general 
weakness of the digestive system, 
along with heartburn, which is fre- 
quent among die inhabitants of re^ 
gions nearest the equator, affections 
that appear to increase in proportion 
to the heat." Ruediger Bildea would 
place the responsibility for the prin- 
cipal defects in our social, ecoooniic, 
and moral development upon shmy 
rather than upon climate and misce- 
genation, where I am inclined to put 
the blame upon monoculture and the 

The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 65 

ference in climate -for it was then the mode to exalt this factor - 
and, vaguely, to differences in constitution of the inhabitants. Had 
he carried his diagnosis further, he undoubtedly would have arrived 
at the important social cause or fact that goes to determine this 
difference in pathological conditions between populations that are so 
near to one another. The cause in question is the difference in the two 
systems of nutrition: one marked by deficiency, with populations 
stifled in their eugenic and economic development by monoculture; 
the other a balanced system, by virtue of a greater division of the 
land and a better co-ordination of activities-agricultural and pastoral 
-among the Paulistas.^^ Whence the economic health which was 
later to be transmitted to die inhabitants of Minas, who, once the 
turbulent gold-and-diamond-rush phase was over, were to settle down 
and become the most stable, the best-balanced, and possibly the best- 
nourished people in Brazil. 

I believe it may be stated that, from die point of view of nntridon, 
the most salutary influence in the Brazilian's devdio[Hnent has been 
that of the African Negro, both with respect to the valuable food 
products that through him have come to us from the land of his 
origin, and with respect to his own diet, which was better balanced 
than that of the white man<-at least in this country, under slavery. 
If I make this qualification, it is because the plantation-owners in 
Brazil had their own variety of Taylorism, by which they endeavored 
to obtain from the Negro slave, purchased at a dear price, the maxi- 
mum of useful effort and not merely a niaxiinum of labor for their 
money. For many of the big landowners soon learned that the energy 
of the African in their ser\-ice, when abused or subjected to strain, 
paid less dividends than when it was well conserved; and from there 
they went on to exploit the slave with the object of getting as much 
out of him as possible without impairing his normal efficiency. It was 
to the master's interest to preserve tliat efficiency, for the Negro was 

latifundia, while not overlooking for 
a moment or undertaking to diminish 
the tremendous importance of slavery. 
It is merely that, if we had to oonm- 
tioo or subordinate one to the other, 
we should subordinate slaver)'' to 
monoculture aad the system of big 

At the end of the colonifll epoch 
die Swedish physician Gustav Beyer, 
as well as the Jesait chroiiiclers of the 

sixteenth century, laid emphasis upon 
"the enormous abundance of victuals 
in the markets" of São Paulo: fruits 
and vegetables, cereals and tuberous 
plants, game and slaughterhouse ani- 
mals. And he nddcd that nowhere else 
did the population present so fine an 
appearance as in São Paulo, and in no 
other place had he seen so few cr^ 
pies. ~See AfFooso de E. Tamii^: 
Non Ducor, Duco (op. dc). 



The Masters and the Slaves 

his capital, his work-machine, a part of himself; which accounts for 
the plentiful and nourishing food that Peckholt saw the owners pass- 
ing out to their slaves in Brazil.^'^ The diet of the Negro on Brazilian 
plantations may not have been marked by any culinary niceties, but 
it was an unfailing source of nourishment; the abundance of corn, 
salt pork, and beans that it contained commends it as being suited to 
the hard labor demanded of an agricultural slave. 

The Negro sku e in Brazil appears to us to have been, with all his 
alimentary deficiencies, the best-nourished element in our society; 
owing in large part to diet -I repeat -many of the finest expressions 
of vigor and physical beauty in our country will be found to be of 
African origin: the mulattoes, the Creoles,^'*' the quadroons, and, above 
all, the octoroons; the plantation cabras; the sailors in our navy 

Peckholt adds, with regard to 
the diet of the slaves: "the planter 
provided out of his own means for 
the repbcement of the material con- 

The term Creole has here not the 
Spanish-American sense of one of 
Spanish descent born and reared in 
the colonies; it means a Negro sbve 
bom in America, and comes to be iq>- 
plied today to Negroes in generaL 

isoSylvio Romero: História da lit- 
eratura brasileira (Rio de Janeiro, 

Ml José Américo de Almeida, in his 
study of the Paraiban populations, re- 
ferring to the Negroid character of 
the "ancient centers of slavery" in die 
marshlands, says: **dils individual [die 
man of the marshlands], ill-noiiridied 
and ill-clad, bent over his hoe, labors 
incessantly from sun to sun and 
throughout the rigors of the winter 
season, with an indefadgability of 
which no other would be capable. 
. . . Despite this life of privations and 
physical exhaustion, the type is not 
one of the most abject; on the con- 
trary, it affords examples of a robust 
consdt u tion-'Hercnlcan cobras who 
endure the most back-breaking toil, 
such as that of the bagaceira** (op. 
cit.). Lafcadio Hearn makes a similar 
observation with respect to the mes- 

tizo populations (mulattoes, quad- 
roons, octoroons, etc.) of the French 
West Indies: <*Widiout fear of 
gerating facts, I can venture to say 
that the muscular development of the 
working-men here is something which 
must be seen in order to be believed; 
—to study fine displays of it, one 
should watch the olacks and half- 
breeds working naked to the waist— 
on the landings, in the gas-houses and 
slaughter-houses or in the nearest 
plantadons." —Two Years in the 
French West Indies (New Yoric and 
London, 1923). In response to the al- 
leganon that he is merely a writer and 
not a scientist, Heam might have re- 
plied that he discovered more as a 
writer than many a sociologist. More- 
over, he has to blear him out die state- 
ment of J. J. Comilli, who in his 
medical study Recherches ckronolo- 
giques et historiqites sur r origine et la 
propagation de la fièvre jaune aux 
AfttUies stresses die robustness and 
physical yigot of die mesdzp of Mar- 

[For a vivid portrayal of the life 
and function of plantation cabras, see 
Jorge Amado's Terras do Sem Fim 
(São IMo, 1943), published in Eng- 
lish under the tide The Violent Land 
(New York: Alfred A. Knopf; 1945). 

Copyiiytited material 

The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 67 

dnd our naval guncrs;^®^ the capoeiras; the capangas;*" the ath- 
letes;*** the stevedores of Recife and Salvador; many of the 
pgunços^^^ of the Bahian backlands and the cangaceiros^^ of the 
northeast. The lyric exaltation of the caboclo -that is to say, of the 
native Indian, which is common among us, or of the cross between 
Indian and white, a type in which certain persons would discover the 
purest exponent of the physical capacity, beauty, and even the moral 
resistance of the Brazilian racial strain*"— all this does not cone- 

^At the beginning of the nine- 
teenth century the Englishman Heniy 
Koster, traveling in Pernambuco, 
contrasted the regiments of militia 
made up exclusively of blacks and 
mulattoes with those regiments of 
die line made up of Portugneae, con- 
cluding that the colored men pre- 
sented the better physical appear- 
ance.— Trair/x i?i Hrazil (L,ondon, 
18 1Ó). A Portuguese translation of 
Kofitor^s book, made bv Senhor Luis 
da Camara Cascudo, nas just been 

[One of the best-known and best 
paintings by Brazil's great contempo- 
rary artist Cândido Pordnari is The 
Nmnl Qumei^s Ftomly, (Transla- 

^Capanga means a professionally 
brave man, often a bodyguard. 

^ Those who exhibited their 
prowess at fairs, on feast-days, etc. 

18-' Originally, back-count)' ruffians; 
the term comes to be practically syn- 
onymous with sertoTiejo, or inhabitant 
of the backlands. (Truislator.) 

^^A cmgacerio is a banditi one 
who is laden with the cangaço, or 
bundle of weapons that bandits carry 
in northeastern Brazil. For colorful 
details on die emgaeeirosj see the 
work by Luis da Camara Cascudo: 
Vaqueiros e Cantadores {Cowboys 
and Singers) (Porto Alegre, 1939), 
pp. 116-20. —Such terms as cabra, 
capoeira, capanga, jagunço, canga- 
ceiro, etc., by reason of thdr shades 
of meaning and connotation, are prac- 

tically untzanslatable, or dangerous to 

translate. (Translator.) 

'^^To call anyone a caboclo^ in 
Brazil is almost always a tribute to 
his character or his capacity for phys- 
ical and moral endurance. This is in 
contrast to "mulatto," "Negro," 
*'moleque" ("black boy"), "creole," 
^'■pardo^'' (mulatto), "pítrífiitwfo" (off- 
spring of Negro and mulatto), and 
^'sararâ^^ (light-colored Negro with 
red or sandy hair), which in general 
carry a derogatory implicaticm with 
respect to the individual's morals, cul- 
ture, or social position. Many a Bra- 
zilian mulatto of high social or politi- 
cal Standing makes apoint of referring 
to himself asa fo^tfrfo: ^reeaboehsy 
"if I were not a caboclo" etc And 
Júlio Bello tells us that old Sebastião 
de Rosário, the well-known Pernam- 
bucan planter of the nineteenth cen- 
tury, a pure Wanderley by descent, 
coming from the best brandi of the 
family, that of Serinhaem— almost all 
the members having the rubicund 
complexion of Europeans, blue eyes, 
and reddish hair— was in the habit at 
great banquets, m^ien 1m was feeling 
at peace with the world, of praising 
himself falsely as being a ''''caboclo.'''' 
The one thing that no one wanted to 
be at such moments as this was a 
N^ro or an individual with a trace 
of Negro blood. The ezoeptioas were 
exceedingly rare. 

[Euclides da Cunha described him- 
self in a verse couplet as "this caboclo, 
this tame jagunço, mixture of Celt, of 
Tapuia (Indian), and of Greek.** 

Copyrighted material 

69 The Masters and the Slaves 

spond to reality. On this point the distinguished scholar Roquette 
Pinto hints at the necessity of correcting Euclides da Cunha, who is 
not always accurate in his generalizations. Much of what Euclides ex- 
tols as the strength of the indigenous race, or sub-race formed by the 
union of white with Indian, is due to virtues coming from an admixture 
of the three races, and not from that of Indian and white alone; or in 
any event, as much of it is due to the Negro as to the Indian or the 
Portuguese. "Racial admixture," says Roquette Pinto, "produced the 
mameluco, but the jagunço is not a mameluco, offspring of white and 
Indian. Euclides studied him in Bahia, ^""^ and Bahia and Minas are the 
two states of the Union in which the African is most widely dis- 

The Brazihan anthropologist stresses die point that "it is a big 
mistake to believe that in the great central sertão and the Amazonian 
lowlands the sertanejo is exclusively the caboclo. In the rolling high- 
lands of the northeast as in the rubber forests," he goes on to say, 
"there are cafusos or caborés, of part-Negro descent." And he under- 
lines the fact that many a Negro had left the coast or the sugar-raising 
zone to take refuge in a quilombo, or fugitive-slave settlement, in the 
backlands: "Many slaves fled to the quilombos in the forests, in the 
vicinity of the Indian tribes. Inasmuch as it was difficult for their own 
women to flee, the rape of Indian women was widety practiced by 
the black qtdlombolas.^* 

Previou^y, in his study Rondâma,^^ Roquette Pinto had published 
some interr ing documents, which he had found in the archives of 

^ See Ox sertões (Rebellion m the oat a ribbon, a hairpin, a flower, vrhhr 

Baeklands)f passhn, but espedally the out covering or ornament of die 

chapter on "Man" (Quqpcer ii). meanest sort." [For the complete 

(Translator.) passage of da Cunha, sec Os Sertões j 
*^E. Roquette Pinto: Seixos Ro- i6th revised edition, p. 199; see Re- 
lados {Rolled Pebbles) (Rio de Ja- bellion in the Backlandsj pp. 136-7. 
neiro, 1927). ''However," adds Ro- (Translator.)] 
quette Pinto, "elements are not lacking "•Roquette Pinto, op^ dC 
in the book Os Sertões to prove that [For a fascinating account of the 
those individuals who were 'above all qtiilmfibos, see an article by the inter- 
robust' had a large drop uf Negro nationally known Brazilian anthro- 
blood in their veins. One has but to pologist Arthur Ramos: "O Efphito 
reread the description of the rabble of Associativo do Negro Brasileiro** 
Canudos: *all ages, all types, all colors "The Associative Spirit of the Brazil- 
, . . Creole women with their dyed ian Negro"), in the Revista do 
and battered mops of hair; the straight Arquivo Aittnicipal of São Paulo, Vol. 
smooth hair of the caboclas; the out- XLVII, pp. 105-26 (May 1938). 
landish topknots of die African (Translator.)] 
women; the light-colored and brown Roquette Pinto: Rondánh (Rio 

hair of pure-blooded white women; de Janeiro, 1917)* 
their heads all jumbled together, with- 

Copyrighted material 

The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 69 

the Brazilian Historical Instttute, concerning the cabores of die Sena 
do Norte, in the very heart of Brazil, showing that diey were the 
hybrid offspring of Negro fugitives from the mines and Indian women 
who had been raped by them. The vicdms of these rapes committed 
by the Negroes of the quHambos were not merely, as Ulysses Brandão 
puts it,^ ''black Sabines . • . of the plantations*'; the ^eater part of 
them were Indian women. In traveling recently Âroogh lower 
Guminá, GastSo Gmls came upon various remams of die old mucmd^os 
or quUambos;^ that is to say, of the fugitive-slave settlements 
founded by Negroes from the plantations and the randies. ''What is 
more,'* he writes, "these slave refuges were to be found along nearly 
all the rivers of the Amazon region; and even on the upper Içá, 
Grevaux d&covered the diatched hut of an old black woman." ^ 
Wherever one turns, even in places where it is supposed that Amer- 
indian blood or that of the Portuguese-Indian hybrid is preserved in 
its purest state, it will be found that the African has been there: in 
the very heart of tlie Amazon region, on the Serra do Norte, and in 
the backlands. 

The sertanejo^s supposed absolute freedom from African blood or 
influence will not withstand a thorough examination. If pure whites 
are numerous in certain backland regions, African traces will be found 
in others. It would be most interesting to make a study with the 
object of locating the sites of the old slave strongholds, which must 
have stained with black, a black that today has grown paler, many a 
region of central Brazil. These concentrations of pure Negroes must 
necessarily correspond to the Negroid patches in the bosom of popu- 
lations far removed from the centers of sla\'ery. Women of their own 
color being scarce among the fugitives, they would have had re- 
course, in supplying the lack, "to the rape of Indian women," or the 
caboclas of the nearest towns and settlements; and thus they would 
have dispersed their blood through much of the region that was later 
to be looked upon as being virginally pure from Negro influence. 
For this acdvity of the f ugidve Negroes in the backland regioiis and 
along the Amazon River represents an impulse that is almost equal 
to tlut of the São Páulo bandetrantesocúit setdets of Ceará* 

Ulysses Brandão: A Confedera» ^ Gastão Cruls: A Amazónia que 

ffo do Equador {The Confederation Eu Vi {The Anuaon Ba^on As I 

of Ecuador) (Pernambuco, 1924). Saw It) (Rio de Janeiro, 1930). [in 

^ According to Ramos (loc cit, addirioa to being a physician and nun 

note 190 above), the Tmicambo was a of science, Gastão Cruls is a promi- 

hut in a qu:lo?Tibo; but the two terms nent novelist and literary figure in 

are commonly used as synonymous, contemporary Brazil. (Translator.)] 

Copyrighted material 


The Masters and the Slaves 

Mulatto in composition, or a mixture of white and Indian and, in 
lesser proportion, of three races, the greater part of the free popula- 
tion, which in our slave-holding society corresponded to the "poor 
white trash" of the English colonies in North America, was an clement 
that was comparatively exempt from African coloring or influence; 
and it was at the same time the one that was subject to the most dev- 
astating effects of paludic anemia, beriberi,^^'"^ and worms, afl^ections 
that, following abolition, which in this respect came as a calamity, 
were extended to those Negroes and mulattoes who had been aban- 
doned by the Big Houses and deprived of the patriarchal assistance 
of their former masters and the diet of the slave quarters. The Negro 
slaves enjoyed, as the caboclos and free mulattoes did not, the ad- 
vantage of living-conditions that were preservative rather than de- 
predative from die point of view of eugenics; they were in a better 
position to resist pathogenic and social influences and those deriving 
from their physical environment, and so were able to props^ate 
descendants who were healthier and more vigorous. 

The same cannot be said with regard to the effects of syphilis, which 
was, par excellence^ the disease of the Big Houses and the senss^. 
The son of the plantation-owner would contract it almost as he 
played with the Negro and mulatto girls, acquiring precociously his 
first sexual experience at the age of twelve or thirteen; for from that 
time on, the lad was already a young gendeman who was subject to 
ridicule for not having had canial Imowlec^e of a woman and who 
would be the butt oÍ jests if he could not show the scars of syphilis 
on his body. Such scars, Mardus notes, the Brazilian would display 
as he might those of war; ^ and half a century after his dme, a 
French observer, £mile Béringer, while denying the preponderant 
influence of the climate of northern Brazil upon the diseaise-rate of the 
region, was to emphasize the truly tragic importance of syphilis: 
"Syphilis works great havoc The major pordon of the inhabitants do 
not look upon it as a shameful disease and do not pay much attendon 
to it. Aside from its influence upon the development of numerous 
special affecdons, it accounts for ten deaths in every diousand." ^ 

The advantage of miscegenadon in Brazil ran parallel to the tre- 

"^^^ Especially beriberi, an avitamin- 
osis resulting from a lack of vitamin 
B, and not an infection. At least, this 
is the coodnsioa ofpfofoond students 
of the subject: Sliuinaii« Mendel, 
Ayknyât Cowgill, Sure. On beriberi 
in Brazil, see the study by V. Baptista: 
Viumtims e Avitaminoses {Vitamim 

and Avitcrfninoses) (São Paulo, 1934). 
Also the work of Ruy Coutinho, 
previously cited. 

Spix and Martins, op. cie. 
^ Emile Béringer, op. cit. So sen- 
sitive to die perfections of sanitary 
technique and the general comforts 
of life does the disease-rate of north- 

Copyrighted material 

The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 7 1 

mendous disadvantage of syphilis. These two factors hcgm operating 
at the same time: one to form the Brazilian, the ideal type of modem 
man for the tropics^ a European with Negro or Indian blood to re- 
vive his energy; the other to deform him. Out of this there arises a 
certain ocmfusion of thought on the subject of responsibilities, many- 
attributing to miso^enatum effects that are chiefly due to syphilis, 
the Negro or the Amerindian or even the Portuguese race being held 
responable for the 'Higliness" and ''ignorance" of those ^ our 
baddand populations who have been most affected by syphilis or 
eaten with worms» whereas the truth is that each one of these races, 
in a pure or uncrossed state, is exhausted with producing admirable 
examples of beauty and physical robustness. 

Of all the social influences, perhaps syphilis has been, next to bad 
nutrition, plastically the most deforming in its effects, die one that 
has to the greatest extent drained the economic energy of the Bra- 
zilian mestizo. It would appear to have come from the first unions of 
Europeans, wandering aimlessly along our shores, with those Indian 
women who offered themselves to the white man's sexual embrace. 
That "initial ethnic tare" of which Azevedo Amaral speaks was first 
of all a syphilitic tare. 

It is customary to say that civilization and syphilis go hand in hand, 
but Brazil would appear to have been syphilized before it was civilized. 
The first Europeans to come here were swallowed up in the aboriginal 
mass without leaving upon the latter any traces of their origin other 
than those of syphilis and racial hybridism. They did not bring civili- 
zation, but there is evidence to show that they did bring the venereal 
plague to the population that absorbed them. 

It is precisely from the twofold point of view of miscegenation and 

cm Brazil seem to Beringer to be that 
he is led to conclude from his studies 
in Pemanibucan climatology that 
*Svicfa the progress ci hygiene and 
dvilizatioii, many of the causes will 
disappear. Already today the death- 
rate IS lower among the better-to-do 
white inhabitants, who are more pru- 
dent, more appreciative of their own 
weU-bemg, tnan sie the mnlattoes or 
the Uacks." Thns does Biringer re- 
spond to the question that, in this 
same era, came from the pen of Cap- 
istrano de Abreu: , . what, after 
all, do we know of the ftctkm of that 
ardent cUmate which Is held re^KW- 

sible for so many of our defects?"— 
Preface to Geografia Geral do Brasil 
{General Geography of Brazil), by 
A. W. Sellln (translated from tlie 
Gennan, Rio de Janeiro, 1889). It 
was as if the perspicacious historian 
had attained the modern attitude of 
anthropo-geography toward the fac- 
tor of climate: a tendency to diminish 
Its renonsibilities» 

A. Carneiro Leão: Oliveira Lima 
(Recife, 191 3); Paulo de Moraes 
Barros: hfi pressões do Nordeste (Im- 
pressions of the Northeast) (São 
Paulo, 1923). 

Copyrighted material 

7 2 The Masters and the Slaves 

of syphilis that the first phase of settlement impresses us as being 
so extremely important a one. With regard to the former, it was the 
first random settlers who prepared the way for the only colonizing 
process that would have been possible in Brazil: the formation of a 
hybrid society through polygamy— the Europeans being so few in 
number. Paulo Prado, in writing of figures like Diogo Alvares, of 
João Ramalho, and, somewhat inappropriately, of Jeronymo de Al- 
buquerque (who belongs to another phase of settlement), observes 
that they "were widely prolific in offspring, as if to indicate the solu- 
tion of the problem of colonization and racial formation in our coun- 
try." ^'^^ The fact of the matter is that out of their contact with the 
Ainerindian population there resulted the first hybrid layers, con- 
stituting, it may be, the point of easiest penetration for the second lot 
of Europeans; and when the regular settlers arrived, they were to 
encounter among the dark reddish-skinned native masses these traces 
of a lighter stock. Even though they were without definite European 
characteristics^ the mestizos, as if by very leascm of the fact that their 
color was closer to that of the whites and they possessed one vestige 
or another of that moral or material culture which they had acquired 
from European lands, must have served as a wedge or fleshly lining 
to cushion the violent shock of contact with females who were so 
wholly different from the European type, for those Portuguese colo- 
nists—and there must, surely, have been many of them, coming from 
northern Portugal-who were still virgins so far as such exotic ex- 
periences were concerned. 

Many of the first settlers did no more than lose themselves in the 
midst of the native population. There were few of those "true chief- 
tains" ^ of whom Paulo Prado speaks: great white patriarchs who, 
living alone among the Indians, succeeded in subjecting to their will 
as Europeans sizable bands of the native folk. But even diose who 
lost themselves in the darkness of narive life, without leaving so much 
as a name behind them, are none the less forced upon the attention 
of one who is concerned with the genetíc and social history of Bra- 
zilian society. For good or ill, they were die forebears of that society; 
it was they who were responsible for contaminating it with some 
of its most persistent vices and characteristics: edmic tares, as Azevedo 
Amaral would assert; social tares, I should prefer to say. 

The syphilizatíon of Brazil, it would seem, resulted from the first 
contacts along our shores-chance contacts, some of them— of Euro* 

Paulo Prado, op. cit. ^Vbiá, 


The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil 73 

pcans with Indian women. Not only the Portuguese, but the French 
and Spaniards as well; but chiefly the Portuguese and the French. 
Exiles, new-Christians, Norman dyewood traders who had remained 
here and who, having been left behind by their own people, had gone 
to live with the natives-these individuals frequently ended by ac- 
qniring a taste for this disordered way of life, with women of easy 
virtue all about diem, to be had in the shade of the cashew and guava 


Oscar da Silva Araujo, to whom we are indebted for valuable data 
on die appearance of syphilis in Brazil, associates it principally widi 
the contact of native women with the French. 'In the sixteenth cen- 
tury," the Brazilian sdenrist reminds us, ''there broke out in France 

the great epidemic of syphilis; and in the accounts left by the contra- 
band traders of this era we find references to the existence among 
them of venereal diseases that sometimes decimated the populations. 
And it is to be presumed that these French adventurers who dealt with 
our natives were likewise infected, and that it was, indeed, they who 
had first introduced and spread the disease."*^ 

The Portuguese could have been no less infected, for they were an 
even more mobile and sensual people than were the French. "The 
disease tliat laid waste the Old World at the end of the fifteenth cen- 
tury," says Oscar da Silva x\raujo in one of his works, "was spread 
throughout the Orient, having been carried there by the Portuguese. 
The investigations of Okamura, Dohi, and Susuky, in Japan and in 
China, and those of Jolly and others in India, show that syphilis ap- 
peared in these countries only after they had come into contact with 
Europeans. In India it made its appearance after the arrival of Vasco 
da Gama, in 1498, who had sailed from Portugal the year before. 
Gaspar Corrêa, in his Lendas da India {Legends of India) tells us 
that "in Cacotorá, in the year 1507, the people began to fail ill of 
the bad vapors and bad food, and especially as the result of intercourse 
with women, of which they died." ^ Silva Araujo goes on to remind 
US of Engelbert Kompfer's assertion, cited by Astruc, to the eflFect 
that the Japanese term mambakassam^ with its literal meaning of "dis- 
ease of the Portuguese," is the one by which syphilis is blown in 

^*^^ The guava tree (araça) belongs m Rio de Jaiuiro) (Rio de Janeiro, 

to the Myrtaceac or myrtle family 1928). 

{Fsidiwn araga Raddi). (Translator.) 203 Oscar da Silva Araujo: Subsídios 

Oscar da Silva Araujo: Algum ao Estudo da Framboesia Tropical 

Comentários sobre o SifiUs no Rio de (Contrihtaions to tbe study of Bu- 

Janeiro (Some Comments on Syphilis boes) (Rio de Janeiro, 1928). 

Copyrighted material 


The Masters and the Slaves 

Japan. And even to our day, he adds, in many Oriental countries the 
two expressions are synonymous. In the Indian, Japanese, and Chinese 
languages there are no names for the disease." *** 

Although a number of authorities on the tropics, some of whom, 
like Sigaud, have made a special study of Brazil, are inclined to look 
upon syphilis as autochthonous,^ the evidence gathered by Oscar da 
Silva Araujo leads us to a different conclusion. "Physicians who have 
most recently traveled among the natives," the Brazilian author tells 
us, ''and who have studied the diseases to be found among those of 
our Indians who have not yet come into contact with civilization - 
among others, Dr. Roquette Pinto, Dr. Murillo de Campos, and Dr. 
Olympio da Fonseca /ifr— report that they have never observed 
syphilis among these tiÁes, notwithstanding the fact that they have 
noted the presence of various skin affections." And he adds: "the first 
tiavelecs and writers who allude to the climate and diseases of Brazil 
never mention the existence of this malady among the savages^ who 
up to that time had lived isolated from European contacts. . • ."^ 
The same opinion is held by another distinguished investigator. Profes- 
sor Firajá da Silva, who r^ards leprosy and syphilis as having been 
'introdnoed into Árazil by European and African colonists." *^ What 
would ^ppeu to have happened is that buboes has been widely coi^ 
fused with syphilis. 

Not only was sesual interooorae between the European conqueror 
and the Indian woman disturbed by syphilis and other highly con- 
tagious venereal diseases of European ongin; it also took place, after 
rektions between masters and thor female Negro slaves became wide- 
^read, under drcumscances that were otherwise unfavorable to the 
woman. A species úí sadism on the part of the white man and of 

aw Ibid. 

20» "Ltf syphilis;' writes Sigaud, "fait 
beaucoup de ravages dam les poptda- 
ttons iwmadeSf et bicn que certains ob- 
smmtmn pémem qifette w tait pro- 
pãgée tUnftntaget ãprèt la ecnquhe 
des portugais, a été constatê qtíe la 
maladie existait déjà chez les indigenes 
qiú n'avaient eu aucwn rapport avec 
les Européens. Le voyagettr Ribâro 
de Sampaio, dans sa rekttion pubUáe 
^ '77f > Pffgff 9t ^4% àh avoir recontré 
des tnbits avec des symptômes 
dents de maladie vénériemie." 
—J. F. X. Sigaud: Du cLimat et des 

nudadies du íirésil (Puis, 1844). Pro- 
fessor Milton T. Rosenau of Harvard 
University says that the study of 
bones found in pre-Columbian burial- 
grounds pointstp the Aineiicui ongin 
of syphilis. (MUnm T. Rosenao: nra^ 
ventive Medicine and Hygiene, 5th 
edition, New York and London.) The 
subject, however, continues to be a 
controversial one. 

^OKar da Siha Amqo: Com- 
entários, etc. (op. cit.). 

Diálogos das Grandezas do Bra- 
sil (op. cic), note 12 to the Second 

Copyrighted material 

The Portuguese Colofiization of Brazil 75 

masochism on the part of his Indian companion must have been the 
predominant feature in the sexual as in the social relations of the Eu- 
ropean with the women of those races that were subject to his role. 
The furious passions, of the Portuguese must have been vented upon 
victims who did not always share his sexual tastes, although we know 
of cases where the sadism of the white conqueror was offset by the 
masochism of his native or Negro partner. So much for the sadistic 
impulses of the man toward woman— which not infrequently denved 
from the relations of the master toward the Negro slave boy who had 
been his playmate in youth. Through the submission of the black boy 
in the games that th^ played together, and especially the one known 
as leva-pancadas (**tske a drubbing") , the white lad was often initiated 
into the mysteries of physical love. As for ^e lad who took the drub- 
bing, it may be said of him that, among the great slave-holding families 
of Brazil, he fulfilled the same passive functions toward tus young 
master as did the adolescent slave under the Roman Empire who had 
been chosen to be the companion of a youthful aristocrat: he was a 
species of victim, as well as a comrade in those games in which the 
^'"prermers elans génésiques''' of the son of the family found outlet.^ 
Moll stresses the fact that the first direction taken by the sexual im- 
pulse in childhood— sadism, masochism, bestiaUty, or fetishism— is de- 
pendent largely upon opportunity or chance— that is to say, upon ex- 
ternal social influences -rather than upon predisposition or innate 
perversion.^*^* The author of The Sexual Life of the Child speaks of a 
period of "sexual indifferentiation"— through which, according to 
Penta and Max Dessoir,"^® every individual passes— as being one that 
is particularly sensitive to such influences. It was in this period of 
indiff^erentiation that the social influences about him (his position as 
a master surrounded by docile slaves and animals) acted upon the son 
of the slave-holding family in Brazil, inducing him to bestiality or to 
sadism. Even when his sexual impulses later underwent a change, he 
not infrequently preserved, in various manifestations of life and in his 
social activities as an individual, that "sexual undertone" which, ac- 
cording to Pfister, ''is never lacking to well-marked sadistic pleas- 

F. Buret: La SypMis aujentrd*bm 
et chez les anciens (Paris, 1890). 

209 Albert Moll: The Sexual Life of 
the Child (cransladon. New York, 

*>*Fi9pde Peonu / Fer v er timmti 
SmuM (Naples, 1893); Max Dcskmr 

**Zur Psychohgie der Vita SexuaBt,* 
in AUgemeine Zeitscbrift fur psy- 

chischgerichtliche Medicin, cited by 
Westermarck: The Origin and De- 
velopment of Moral Ideas (London, 

Copyrighted material 

^6 The Masters and the Slaves 

ure." The sadism of the small boy and the adolescent was trans- 
formed into a taste for administering thrashings, for having them pull 
out the teeth of the Negro who had stolen his sugar-cane, for having 
capoeiras, cocks, and male canaries fight in his presence— tastes that 
were frequently manifested by the plantation-ou ner after he had be- 
come a grown man. It would also come out in his passion for giving 
violent or perverse commands, cither as lord of the manor or as the 
university-educated son occupying an elevated political or public ad- 
ministrative position. Or else it would show, purely and simply, in 
that fondness for ordering people about which is characteristic of 
every Brazilian bom and reared in a pkntatíon Big House. This tend- 
ency is often to be met with refined into a grave sense of authority and 
of duty, as in a Dom Vital, or brutalized into a crude authoritarianism 
as in a Floriano Peixoto. 

One result of the persistent action of this sadism, a sadism of the 
conqueror toward the conquered, of the master toward the slave, is a 
fact that appears to me to be linked naturally with the economic cir- 
cumstances that shaped our patriarchal society: the fact that the 
woman in Brazil is so often the helpless victim of the male's domina- 
tion or abuse.-^^ a creature sexually and socially repressed, who lives 
within the shadow of her father or her husband. Meanwhile we should 
not forget that feminine variety of sadism, when the woman has be- 
come a great lady, which is shown toward slaves, especially toward 
the mulatto girls, in which case there enters an element of envy or 
sexual jealousy. 

But this sadism of the master and the corresponding masochism of 
the slave, exceeding the sphere of sexual and domesric life, makes 
itself felt throughout our history in a broader, social and political 
domain. It is my opinion that it is to be met with in oar political life, 

Osc;Tr Pfisrer: J. ove in Children 
and Its Aberrations (translation, Lon- 
don, 1924). 

^ The fact should not pass widi- 
out mention that in a country where 
for long centuries slaves and women 
have been trodden underfoot bv ex- 
treme masculine pressure, the domi- 
nant cult among the Catholic majority 
is the masochiãc, sentimental one cli 
rfie Sacred Heart of Jesus. An ex- 
hibitionism of the suffering heart is 
likewise common among our poets. 
Our amorous as well as our devo- 

úcmú and mystical literature is filled 

with hearts bleeding voluptuously, or 
else bruised, grieving, wounded, em- 
bittered, lacerated, flaming, etc., etc. 

[A vivid picture of the masculine 
sequestration and domination of 
women in nineteenth-century Brazil 
may be had from Escragnollc Tau- 
nay's novel hiocênciay translated by 
Henriqueta Chamberlain (New York: 
The Macmillan Company; 1945). In 
die Preface to the First Edition (see 
p. 33), Freyre alludes to the "small 
chambers . . . for the all but monastic 
seclusion of unmarried daugliters.'* 

Copyrighted material 

The Portuguese Colonization of Brazil jj 

where the passion for command has always found victims upon whom 
to vent itself with refinements that are at times sadistic in character, 

while at other times what we have is old nostalgias transformed into 
civic cults, like that of the so-called "Iron Marshal." Our revolu- 
tionary, liberal, demagogic tradition is limited to foci that readily 
admit of political prophylaxis; for when we come down to it, what 
the majority of those who may be called the Brazilian people are still 
experiencing is the pressure exerted upon them by a government that 
is masculine and boldly autocratic. Even in the case of sincere in- 
dividual self-expressions— not at all uncommon in this kind of Ameri- 
can Russia that is our Brazil ^^—expressions of a revolutionary mys- 
ticism, a Messianic faith, of the identification of the redeemer with the 
masses to be redeemed, through the sacrifice of life or of personal 
liberty-even in such cases as tiliese there is to be sensed a masochistic 
taint or residue, representing not so much the will to reform or correct 
certain definite vices of our political or economic system as the pure 
enjoyment of suffering, of being the victim, of sacrificing oneself. 

On the other hand, the conservative tradition in Brazil has always 
been sustained by the sadism of command, disguised as the "principle 
of authority" or the "defense of order." Between the opposing mys- 
ticisms, that of Order and that of Libert)^ that of Authority and that 
of Democracy, our poHtical life after we had precociously emerged 
from the regime of master and slave has ever sought a balance. The 
truth is that the balance continues to lie between certain traditional 
and profound realities: sadists and masochists; masters and slaves; 
those with a doctor's degree and the illiterates; individuals of a culture 
that is predominantly European and others \\ hose culture is chiefly 
African and Amerindian. All this is not without its advantages, the 
advantages of a duality that is not wholly prejudicial to our culture 
in process of formation, enriched on the one hand by the spontaneity, 
the freshness of imagination and emotion of the many, and on the 
other hand by a contact through the elites with the science, the 

A term applied, by those who essay as beii^ '*an antiquated formula 

would make a cult of him, to Floriano after Vicente Licínio Cardoso and 

Peixoto, the iron-fisted dictator who Senhor Octávio da Faria." But pos- 

(following Deodoro Fonseca) ruled sibly this critic is mistaken, at least 

Brazil during the greater part of the in part. The expression in question 

interregnimi between the overthrow was used by me for the first time 

of the monarchy and the final estab- more than ten years ago, in a paper, 

lishment of the Republic (1889-94). ''Vida Social no Nordeste'' ("Social 

(Translator.) Life in the Northeast"), published in 

^ «* The expression "American Rus- the First Centenary edition of the 

sia** impresses one critic who has gra- Diário de Pernambuco (1925). 
cioiisly concerned himself wkh tfab 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

technique, and the adv^anced thought of Europe. Perhaps nowhere 
else is the meeting, intercommunication, and harmonious fusion of 
diverse or, even, antagonistic cultural traditions occurring in so hberal 
a way as it is in Brazil. Meanwhile the vacuum between the two ex- 
tremes is still enormous, the intercommunication between the cultural 
traditions being in many respects deficient; but in any event, the Bra- 
zilian regime cannot be accused of rigidity or, as Sorokin would put 
it, of a lack of vertical mobility, and in a number of social directions 
it is one of the most democratic, flexible, and plastic regimes to be 
found anywhere. 

A significant circumstance remains to be noted in connection with 
the formatioa of Brazilian society, and that is the fact that our 
progress has not been purely in the direction of Europeanization. In 
place of a hard and diy, gnnding effort at adaptation to conditions 
wholly strange, the contact of European culture with that of the 
aborigmes was smoothed by the oil of Afócan mediation. The Jesuit 
system itself -possibly die most efficient force for technical Euro- 
peanization and intellectual and moral cuhnre in its effect upon the 
natives— obtained its greatest success in Brazil during the first cen- 
turies on the mystic, devottonal, and festive side of die Catholic re- 
ligion: in the Chrisdanization of the Indians through music, through 
song, through liturgy, through processions, feasts, reli^ous dances, 
mysteries, comedies; through the distribution of veronicas with die 
Agnus Dei, which die caboclos m^;ht hang about dieir necks, along 
with chains, ribbons, rosaries, and the like; and through the adoradon 
of the relics of the Holy Wood and the heads of the Eleven Thousand 
Virgins. And all of diese elements, while they served the cause of 
Eoropeanizadon and Chrisdanization, were impregnated with ani- 
misdc or f edsfaisdc influence that well may have come from Africa. 

For it would appear that even the SptHmai Exercises were assimi- 
lated by Loyola nom A£ncan sources; they are in any event die 
product of the same or religions climate as the manifestations 
of voluptuous mysddsm to be found among the Arabs. The Jesuit 
heaven, purgatory, and hell, whose delights or horrors the devout one 
who practiced die Exercises would end by seeing, smelling, and 
tasting as he listened to the candcles of joy of the blessed or the de- 
spairing Jesus-save-me of the damned— that heaven, that purgatory, 
and that hell, brought down to the plane of the senses by means of an 
admirable technique, are very close, so a comparative study of re- 
ligions would indicate, to the ancient and mystical teachings of the 
Mohammedans. Hermann Miiller in his book on the origins of the 
Society of Jesus concludes, a bit hastily perhaps, chat the Mussulman 

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The Portuguese Colonizatian of Brazil 79 

technique was imitated by St. Ignatius de Loyola. And Chamberlain, 
in his interpretation -which is wholly in terms of race, and the Nordic 
lace at that -of the religious culture of modem Eurc^e, absolutely 
repudiates St. Ignatius for the reason diat he has discovered in the 
tatter's system anti-European qualities of imagination, sentiment^ and 
mystical technique— or, as he understands it, anti-mystidsm; for 
Chamberlain does not perceive in Loyola's teachings any mystical 
perfume, but for him me Exercises, when all is said, are merely a 
^'grossly mechanical method, arranged with supreme artístiy to ezdte 
the individuaL . . 

The possible African origin of the Jesuit S3rstem-Chamber]ain 
looks upon it as definhdy established— impresses us as being most im- 
portant in explaining the cultural side of the formation of Brazilian 
society, which, even where it would seem to be strictly European, as 
in the case of the Jesuit catechism, must have undergone the softening 
influence of Africa. African mediation in Brazil has brought the ex- 
tremes closer to one another; without it, European and Amerindian 
culture, so strange and antagonistic to each other in many of their 
tendencies, would hardly have got along so well together. 

From a general point of view, the formation of Brazilian society, as 
I have stressed from the first pages of this essay, has been in reahty a 
process of balancing antagonisms. Economic and cultural antagonisms. 
Antagonisms between European culture and native culture. Between 
the African and the native. Between an agrarian and a pastoral 
economy, between that of the agrarian and that of the mining regions. 
Between Catholic and heretic. Jesuit and fazendeiro. The bandeirante 

^Houston Stewart Chamberlain: 
The Foundations of the Nineteentb 

Century (London, 191 1). The Argen- 
tine literary critic Senhor Ricardo 
Sáenz Ha^es, in speakii^ of this pas- 

which I have quoted from 
berlain regarding Loyola and 

the Exercises^ recently observed that 
"in order to seek the origins of his 
mysticism," as Chamberlain does, 
**<me would have to be unfamiliar 
with liie OiTMirian aonroes of Chii»- 
tianity." And he cites as his authority 
El Islan Cristianizado, by A. Palacios 
(Madrid, 193 1).— Introduction to the 
Spanish edition of Casa-Grande e Sen- 
zala (Buenos Aires, 1942). Bat an 
equally weighty authority is Father 
Asia PalaciaB, who wfote La £9- 

eatdogia Mmtámana en la Dhma 

ComecUa (Madrid, 1919). If the Chris- 
tian poetry of Dante is not dishonored 
by Islamic and African origins, why 
should this be a mark of dishonor for 

Loyola and his Exercises} Widi all his 
Occidentalism, the French Cstholic 

writer M. Legend re, recognizes dut 
'He sémitimie arabe a mis dans le tem- 
perament spirituel de fEspagne une 
forte note d^origmalité* . . This is 
true not 00I7 of the Arabic inflnenre, 
but of the North African as wefl. 
And he adds that he looks upon it as 
"un signe de pusillanhnité chez cer- 
tains Espagnols . . . répudier cet of- 
TieankmeJ^'-Feftrmt de FEspagne 
(Paris, 1913), p. 51. 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

and the plantation-owner. The Paulista and the ojihonha.-^^ The 
Pernambucan and the j/uscnte.'^"^ The landed proprietor and the 
pariah. The university graduate and the illiterate. But predominant 
over all these antagonisms was the more general and the deeper one; 
that bersvcen master and slave. 

It is true that, acting always upon all these clashing antagonistic 
forces, deadening the shock or harmonizing them, have been certain 
conditions peculiar to Brazil that have made for fraternization and 
vertical mobility: miscegenation; the dispersal of inheritances; the pos- 
sibility of a frequent and easy change of profession and of residence; 
frequent and easy access to public office and to elevated political and 
social positions on the part of mestizos and natural sons; the lyric 
character of Portuguese Christianity; the spirit of moral tolerance; 
hospitality to strangers and intercommunication between the different 
parts of the country. The last mentioned factor has been due less to 
technical facilities than to physical conditions: the absence of a moun- 
tain chain or system of rivers such as would really interfere with 
Brazilian unity and a cultural and economic reciprocity between die 
geographic extremes. 

EinhOiiha: nickname gh^en in 
colonial times to the Portuguese who 
came to the backlands in search of 
gold and predoiis scones; then ap- 
plied to the descendants of the Sao 
Paulo bandeirantes; and finally to the 
Portuguese in general. (Lima and Bar- 
roso: Pequeno Dicionário Brasileiro 
da Ungua Portuguêsa.) (Translator.) 

^^"^ Mascate: the word or^inally 
meant a peddler. It came to be ap- 
plied as a nickname to the Portuguese 

of Recife by the Brazilians who in- 
habited Olinda. In Pernambuco in 
1 710 a war between the two peoples 
broke out, known as the Guerra dos 
Mascates, or War of the Mascates. 
(Lima and Barroso: Pequeno Dicta- 
7}iirio, ere.) Cf. the nox el (a ro7nan à 
clef) by Brazil's great nineteenth- 
century romanticise José de Alencar: 
the Querra dos Mascates, (Transla- 




WITH European intrusion, social and economic life among the 
aborigines of America was disorganized and the balance in the rela- 
tions of man to his physical environment was upset. There began 
then the familiar degradati<Mi of a backward race in contact widi an ad- 
vanced one; but this degradation followed differing rhythms: on the 
one hand confoiroing to regional differences in human culture or the 
richness of the soil possessed by the natives-which exhibited a maxi- 
mum of fertility among the Incas and the Aztecs and a minimum 
among those tribes at the continental extremes— and on the other hand 
conforming to the colonizing dispositions and resources of the in- 
truding people or the invader. 

Among tlic Incas, the Aztecs, and the Alayas the Spaniards has- 
tened the dissolution of native values in their furv to destroy a culture 
that was either in the stage of semi-civiHzation or undergoing a molt- 
ing process, and which to them appeared to be dangerous to Chris- 
tianity and unfavorable to the easy exploitation of the great mineral 
wealth to be found there. The English did the same among a more 
backward folk, in the desire to keep themselves immaculate from 
sexual and social contact with peoples who were repugnant to them 
by reason of the difference in color and costume and who evoked be- 
fore their racial consciousness and their Christian conscience the 
specter of miscegenation and a dissolute paganism. 

The Portuguese, in addition to being less ardent in their orthodoxy 
than the Spaniards and less narrow than the English in their color 
prejudices and Christian morality, encountered in America not a peo- 
ple already formed into an empire with an established and vigorous 
system of moral and material culture -with palaces, human sacrifices 
to the gods, monuments, bridges, irrigation and mining works— but; 
on the contrary, one of the most backward populations on the con- 
tinent. What took place here, accordingly, was not a meeting be- 
tween an exuberantly mature culture and one that was still in the 


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The Masters and the Slaves 

adolescent stage; in this part of America the European colonists were 
to find, one might almost say, bands of grown-up children with an 
incipient, unripe culture, or, to vary the figure, a culture that was 
still cutting its first teeth, without the bony framework, the develop- 
ment, or the resistance of the fjreat American semi-civilizations. 

Out of the material and moral values accumulated by the Incas or 
by the x\ztecs and the Mayas was to come a bronze-iikc quahty that 
refused to take the imprint of European contact, a circumstance that 
was to lead the Spaniards to shatter this native bronze-work that held 
out so stubbornly against their rule, in order that amid the fragments 
they might the more conveniently set up their own colonial system 
of exploitation and Christianization. But among the aborigines of the 
«fyewood lands resistance to the European took other forms: a re- 
sistance that was not mineral but vegetable. Here the invader in his 
turn was to have to come to terms with the native element, as he made 
use of the male for the necessities of labor and, above all, those of war, 
for the conquest of the backlands and the clearing of the virgin forest, 
and of the woman for purposes of generation and the founding of a 

The reaction to European rule in that area of Amerindian culture 
which was invaded by die Portuguese was almost one of pure v^[e- 
table sensitivity and contractility; with the Indian withdrawing or 
shrinking back at civilizing contact with the European, out of an in- 
capacity to accommodate himself to the new economic technique and 
the new social and moral, regime. Even when he became an enemy, 
the native was still v^etable in his mode of aggression, little more 
than an auxiliary of the forest. He was noc technically nor politically 
capable of reacting in the manner that had led the white man to adopt 
the policy of extermination followed by the Spaniards in Mexico and 
Peru. Thus we may explain— without overlooking other factors— how 
it is that from the beginning greater profit was had from this im- 
poverished American culture, which was that of the tropical forest, 
than from die one whose opulence rested upon the w^th of the 
mines. In úit latter case the two semi-civilizations; hard, compact, 
hieratic, only four centuries later were to reunite their fragments to 
form a novel whole that was not European but an original creatimL 

Ruediger Bilden suggestively outlines the difiFering conditions of 
racial and cultural amalgamation that, as he sees it; divide into four 
large groups ("a four-fold division**)^ those ethnic masses and their 

1 Ruediger Bilden: "Race Relations 
in Latin America with Special Refer- 
ences to the Development of Indige- 

ous Culture" (Univadiy of Virginia, 

Copyrighted material 

The Nathe in the Brasdlim Family 8 3 

cultures which by many are indiscriminately lumped under the facile 
but vague term "Latin America." 

The first group would be that formed bv the w liite or mulatto re- 
publics of the River Plata region and Chile. In these regions, he goes 
on to observe, "the climate and the physical conditions in general en- 
courage the type of colonization that is most favorable to the develop- 
ment of a predominantly European society." With the exception of 
the Araucanian Indians in Chile, "the indigenous races were too in- 
dgnificant in number and too primitive in culture seriously to ob- 
struct the [European] trend of colonization." ^ 

The second group would be one "typified by Brazil almost ex- 
clusively," a region where the European element never found itself 
in a "position of absolute and undisputed domination." "However 
strict," he goes on to say, "may have been their rule over the other 
ethnic elements, socially and culturally the Portuguese were com- 
pelled, by geographic environment and the exigencies of their coloni- 
zation policy, to compete with the others upon an approximately 
equal basis." 

The third group would be that represented by Mexico and Peru, 
where the conflict of the European with the indigenous civilizations 
already evolved, the presence of mineral wealth, and the colonial 
system of e]q>loitation resulted in a "juxtaposition and antagonism of 
races" rather than in a "harmonious amalgamation"; it resulted in the 
"creation of a European superstructure beneath which ran strangely 
remote and turbulent currents." But sooner or later, he adds, diiese 
currents would end by engulfing the "slender and anaemic superstruc- 
ture and by transmuting those values that were of European or^in." 

The fourth group would be constituted by P^guay, Haiti, and 
"possibly the Dominican Republic" In this group "the European ele- 
ment is at most but a veneer," representing an "incongruous oiltural 
admixture of a substance that b largely Indian or Negroid with badly 
asamilated fragments or elements of European origin." ' 

Hybrid from the beginning, Brazilian society is, of all those in the 
Americas, the one most harmoniously constituted so far as racial re- 
lations are concerned, within the environment of a practical cultural 
reciprocinr that results in die advanced people deriving the maximum 
of profit from the values and experiences of the backward ones, and 
in a maximum of conformity between the foreign and the native cul- 
tures, that of the conqueror and that of the conquered. A society was 
organized that was Christian in superstructure, with the recently 

*Ibid Mbid. 

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84 The Masters and the Slaves 

baptized native woman as wife and mother of the family, who in her 
domestic Hfe and economy made use of many of the traditions, ex- 
periences, and utensils of the autochthonous folk. 

Zacharias \'\^icrner remarked in the seventeenth century that many 
Portuguese, even the richest of them and even "certain Netherlandcrs 
of fiery passions," were in the habit of seeking lawfully wedded wives 
among the daughters of the caboclas.^ And this union of Europeans 
with Indian women or their daughters must have been due, not to a 
scarcity of white or light-skinned women as in the first century of 
colonization, but rather to a decided sexual preference. Paulo Prado 
finds "the austere Vamhagen" « hinting that the native woman, for 
her part, "more sensual thàún the man, as among all prunidve peoples 
. . . in her love affairs gave preference to the European, possibly out 
of priapic considerations." ^ Capistrano de Abreu, however, suggests 
that this preference for the European may have been motivated by 
social rather than sexual considerations: "on the part of the Indian 
women miscegenation is to be explained by the ambition to bear sons 
belonging to the superior race, since according to the ideas current 
among them, it was only parentage on the paternal âde that 
counted." ^ 

Added to the "priapic considerations" in the first century was die 
scarcity, when not an absolute lack, of white women. Even had there 
not been on the part of the Portuguese an obvious inclination either 
for a free union with the caboclas or for one under die benediction 
of the Church, they would have been impelled to it by the force of 
circumstances, whedier or not they cared for die exotic type. This 
was due amply to the fact that there was hardly a single white woman 
in die land, and without the native one it ' Vould be difficult to con- 
trol or setde so large a coast as this one," as Diogo de Vasconcellos 
wrote in a letter to His Majesty in 1612.^ 

Southey observes that the Portuguese colonial ^rstem was more 
fortunate than any other so far as the relations of the European with 

«Alfredo de Carvalho: "O Zoo- 
billion de Zacharias Wagner," Revista 
do Instituto Anjueologico, Histórico 
e Geográfico de Pernambuco, Vol. XI 


^Francisco Adolfo Vamhagen, 
Visconde de Porco Seguro (1816-78), 

one of Brazil's outstanding historians, 
author of a História Geral do Br.isil 
{General History of Brazil). An ar- 
dent defender of the colonial regime, 

he was noted for his antipathy to the 
Indian and his exaltation of the Portu- 
guese element in Brazilian civilization. 

® Paulo Prado, op. cit. 

T Capistrano de Abrea: Capktdo$ie 
Histdrta Colamal (Chapters of CoUh 

u ial Hist ory) (1924). 

^ Manuel Rom fim: O Brasil na 
América (op. cit.). 

The Native in the Brtmlim Family 85 

the colored races were concerned; but he stresses the point that such 
a system was the child of necessity rather than the result of any de- 
liberate social or political orientation.® This was later to be repeated 
by that astute observer Koster, in ^vords that the Indiophil Manuel 
Bomfim is at pains to quote, beneath those of Southey, in the pages 
of his BraTil in the Americas. "This advantage," writes Koster, al- 
luding to the absence of such discrimination on the part of the Por- 
tuguese as would tend to degrade the natives, "comes rather from 
necessity than from a sense of justice." 

For the formidable task of colonizing so extensive a tract as Brazil, 
sixteenth-century Portugal had to avail itself of what man-power was 
left it after the adventure of India. With such left-overs as these, con- 
sisting almost wholly of those who were poor in economic resources,^^ 
plebeian for the most part, and, in addition, of Mozarabic emaction— 
which meant that their racial consciousness was even weaker than 
that of the fidalgos or of the Portuguese from the north— with such 
material it was hardly possible to escablish in America an exclusively 
white or strictly European regime. A compromise with the native 
element was imposed by Portuguese colonial policy and was facilitated 
by circumstances. The lustful inclinations of individuals without 
family ties and surrounded by Indian women in the nude were to 
serve powerful reasons of State, by rapidly populating the new land 
with mestizo offspring. One thing is certain, and that is that the bulk 
of colonial society throughout the sutteenth and seventeenth cen- 
turies was founded and developed upon the basis of a widespread and 
deep-going mixture of races that only the interference of the Jesuit 
fathers kept from becoming an open libertinism, by regularizing it to 
a large extent through the sacrament of Christian marriage. 

The milieu in which Brazilian life began was one of sexual intoxica- 

No sooner had the Europciin leaped ashore than he found his feet 
slipping among the naked Indian women, and the very fathers of the 
Society of Jesus had to take care not to sink into the carnal inirc; fnr 
many of the clergy did permit themselves to become contaminated 
with licentiousness. 1 he women were the first to offer themselves to 
the whites, the more ardent ones going to rub themseh es against the 
legs of these beings whom they supposed to be gods. They would give 
themselves to the European for a comb or a broken mirror. 

"The women go naked and are unable to say no to anyone, but they 

® Robert Soudiey: History of Bra- Alfredo Ellis, Jr., has established, pro- 
zil (op. cit.). vidcd São Paulo with its great 

^^This was the eltment that, as deirante tigiires. 

uopynghiea inaiuiial 


The Masters and the Slaves 

themselves provoke and importune the men, sleeping with them in 
hammocks; for they hold it to be an honor to sleep with the Xianos." 
So writes Father Anchieta. And he is speaking of a Brazil that was 
more or less well ordered, not that of the early days of unbridled 
hbertinism, without the cassocks of the Jesuits to cloak the spontaneity 
of reactions. 

This was a wholly physical love, a taste for the flesh, and from it 
resulted offspring whose Christian fathers were at little pains to edu- 
cate them or to bring them up in the European manner, under the 
wing of the Church. These young ones grew up as best they might, 
in the forest; and some of them were of so ruddy a complexion, with 
skins so light, that when they and their progeny were later discovered 
among the natives by colonists at the end of the sixteenth century, 
they were readily identified as the descendants of Normans and 
Bretons. Of these latter, Gabriel Soares wrote in 1587, in his Log 
Book of BrazUf^ that "many dwelt in fornication in the land, where 
they died without desiring to return to France, and where they lived 
like the heathen, with many women; diese it is, and those that come 
every year to Bahia and to the Rio de Sergipe in French boats, who 
are responsible for filling the land with mamelucos who live and die 
like pagans; these have today many descendants who are blond, milk- 
white, and fredded, children borne by women of the Tupinambás," 
and who are more barbarous than the Indians themselves.** 

This French contingent in the early settlement of Brazil is not to be 
overlooked. It was to be found chiefly in Bahia and at all those points 
along the sliore that were the richest in dyewood. Like the first Por- 
tuguese, thie French gave themselves over to the one form of lust that 
was possible under the circumstances, in the primitive conditions that 
accompanied the clearing of the new land, by surrounding themselves 
with many women. If of their numerous mestizo descendants and 
those of die Portuguese many were later wholly absorbed by the 
aboriginal populations, there were others who, one might say, led a 
life midway between that of the savages and that of tfctt traders and 

" Letter to Laynes, in Paulo Frado: 

Retrato do Brasil (op. cit.). 

12 Roteiro do Brasil. Gabriel Soares 
de Sousa, the sixteenth-century chron- 
icler; see note 14 below. (Translator.) 

^^In Brazil, Tupinambá is the ge- 
neric designation of various Tupi 
tribes that in the sixteenth century 
occupied the coast of Brazil. (Lima 

and Barroso: Peqtteno Dicionário 
Brasileiro da Ungua Portuguêsa,) 


1* Gabriel Soares de Sousa. Tratado 
Descriptho do Brasil em 1^87 (De~ 

scriptive Accoiwt of Brazil in 1^87)^ 
pubUshed by F. A. Vamhagen, Re- 
vista do Instituo Histórico e Geo- 
grâphico Brasileiro, Vol. XIV, p. 342. 

Copyrighted material 

The Native in the Brazilian Fa^nily 87 

iilibusceis, who were somewhat under the European influence de- 
riving from the French ships and Portuguese plantatbns. 

But it is only from the middle of the sixteenth centiuy, BosOio de 
Magalhães tells us," that we may look upon "the first generation of 
mamelucos'^ as having been formed— Portuguese-Indian mestizos of 
a definite demogenic and social significance. As for their pcedecessois, 
those produced by the first matings of white and IndKan, the interest 
they hold f or us^ as already mentioned, is in the fact diat they served 
as a wedge or lining for the great hybrid society that was to be con- 
stituted here. 

The narive woman must be rq[arded not merely as tlie physical 
basis of the Brazilian family, upon whom, drawing strength from her 
and multiplying itself, r^l»d the energy of a limited number of 
European setders; she must also be considered a worth-while cultural 

element, at least so far as material culture goes, in the formation of 

Brazilian society. Thanks to her, Brazilian life was enriched, as we 
shall see further on, with a number of foods that are still in use today, 
with drugs and household remedies, with traditions that are bound 
up with the development of the child, with a set of kitchen utensils, 
and with processes having to do with tropical hygiene— including the 
frequent or at least daily bath, w^hich must greatly have scandalized 
the sixteenth-century European, who was so filthy in his own per- 
sonal habits. 

She gave us also the hammock, which still rocks the Brazilian to 
sleep or ser\^es him as a voluptuous couch. She brought coconut oil 
for women's hair and a group of domestic animals tamed by her hand. 

From the ciinhã, or Tupí-Guaraní woman, has come the best of 
our indigenous culuirc. Personal neatness. Bodily hygiene. Corn. The 
cashew. Mingau, or porridge. The Brazilian of today, a lover of the 
bath and always with a comb and mirror in his pocket, his hair 
gleaming with lotion or coconut oil, is reflecting the influence of his 
remote grandmothers. 

But before dwelling at length upon the contribution of the cunhâ 
to the social development of Brazil, let us endeavor to determine 
that of the Indian male. It was most impressive, but only with regard 
to the task of invading and conquenng the backlands, where he 
served as guide, canodst, warrior, hunter, and fisherman*^® He was 

^•■^ Basílio de Magalhães: O Folclore pleine mer, et la vie des champs leur 

no Brasil {Folklore in Brazil) (Rio de est fatale par le contraste de la diS' 

Janeiro, 1928). (Translator.) cipline avec la vie nómade des forêts»* 

^**Les Indiens, qui exceUem dans — Sigaud, op. dt). 
la navigioHan des fleuves, radmuant la 

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88 The Masters and the Slaves 

of great assistance to the mameluco turned bandeirantey the two of 
them surpassing the Portuguese in mobility, daring, and warlike 
ardor. His capacity^ for activity and for labor failed him, however, 
when it came to the dreary grind of the cane fields, where only the 
African's extraordinary reserves of cheerfulness and animal robustness 
enabled him to endure so well this life of toil. But the Indian, as friend 
or slave of the Portuguese, made up for his uselessness where steady 
and continuous exertion was involved by his brilliance and heroism 
as a soldier, not only in connection with the invasion of the backlands, 
but in defending the colony against the Spaniards, against enemy 
bands of Portuguese, and against corsairs; 

Indians and mamelucos formed a living, moving wall, engaged in 
extending Brazil's colonial frontiers in a westerly direction while at 
tlie same time, in the sugar-raising zone, protecting the agrarian 
establishments against the attacks of foreign pirates. Each sugar plan- 
tation in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was under the neces- 
sity of maintaining upon a wartime footing its hundreds, or at any 
rate dozens, of men, ready to defend against assault by savages or by 
corsairs the plantation dwelling-house and the riches stored in the 
warehouses; and these men were almost all of them Indians or cabo^ 
clos armed with bow and arrow. 

The hoe never stayed for long in the hand of the Indian or the 
mameluco, nor did his nomad's foot permit him ever to settle down 
to a life of patient and rewarding labor. From the native about the 
only thing diat ^e agrarian colonists took in Brazil was the process 
known as ^cohara^ or the burning over of the land,^'' one that, un- 
fortunately, was to get a complete grip upon colonial agriculture. 
As for the knowledge of seeds and roots and other rudimentary agri- 
cultural lore, this was transmitted to the Portuguese not so much by 
the warrior male as by the Indian woman, who in addirion to the 
household work also labored in the fields. 

If we are to sift and sum up the collaboration of the Indian with 
respect to labor that may properly be termed agrarian, we shall have 
to conclude-contrary to Manuel Bomfim, who is an Indiophile to 

^^The coivara, properly speaking, 
is the burning of the piied-up brush- 
wood after the dealing of the woods 
by fire, which is known as a quetmada, 
Euclides da Cunha gives a vivid de- 
scription of this process and its ill 
effects. See Os Sertões, lóth edition, 

ÍK 53 f., "Como se faz um deserto"; 
or English translation, see Rebellion 
m the Baekh?ids, pp. 43-4. Cf. the ob- 
servatioa made 1]^ Freyre regardiiw 
our own South m comparison wim 
Brazil in this respect, in the Preface to 
the First Edition, p. xviL (Translator.) 

Copyriyi iicu I : i ulCI lal 

The Native i?i the Brazilian Family 89 

the roots of his hair ^^-that the native's contribution here was an 
insignificant one. There is nothing surprising in this, in view of die 
fact that Amerindian culture at the time of the discovery of America 
was a nomad culture, a culture of the forest, and not an agricultural 
one. What little cultivating was done-of manihot; cará/^ maize, 
jerimum,^ peanut, and papaw— by a few tribes that were less back- 
ward than the others, was a task disdained by the men, who were 
hunters, fishermen, and warriors; and it was accordingly relegated 
to the women, whose household efficiency was as mudi diminished 
by this labor in the fields as was the capacit)' of the men for regular 
and continuous work by the nomad life that they led. Hence it was 
that die Indian women did not make such good domesdc slaves as 
did the African ones, who later were advantageously to take the place 
of the former as cooks and nurses of the young, just as Negro males 
were to take the place of die Indian men as laborers in die ndd. 

The studies of the tribes of central Brazil that have been made by 
Mardus*^ and by Kari von den Steinen," and Paul £hrenreich*s work 
on the Indians of the Mato Grosso, Goiás, and Amazon regions;^^ 
the writings of Whiifen,^* Roquette Pinto,^* Koch-Griinberg,^ 
Schmidt,-' Krause,-*^ and E. Nordenskiold;^® the notes left by travelers 
and missionaries who found the caboclos hving a hfe that was virgin 
so far as European contacts wxnt— all this lends authority for a 
generaUzation on our part to the effect that even the least backward 
of the indigenous cuhures discovered in America by the Portuguese 
—of which fragments in a crude state still remain— was for the most 
part inferior to those African cultural areas from which, later, Ne- 
groes of pure descent or those who already had become mestizos 
were to be imported for the colonial sugar piaacations. A number of 

^^Read his O Brasil na América 
(op. cit.). 

Name given to various plants of 
the Dioseoreaeeég or yam famity. 

20 Plant of the Cucurhitacea OS 
gourd family. (Translator.) 

21 C. F. P. von Martius: Beitrage 
zur Etbnograpbie imã Spracbmkunde 
Ameriott zmuã BrasiUem (Ldpzig, 

22 Karl von den Steinen: Unter den 
Indianem Xentral-Brasiliens (Berlin, 
1894). This book has just appàured mi 
Portuguese translatioa. 

^iSul Ehrenreich: BeitrSge air 

Volkerkunde Brasiliens (Berlin, 1891). 

** Thomas Whiilcn: The North- 
vtest AmeBBOH (London, 1915). 

Roquene Pinto: Ronddniã 


^''Theodor Kock-Griinberg: Ztvei 
Jahre unter den Indianem (Stuttgart, 

^ Max Schmidt: Indianerstudien m 
Zentralbrasilien (Berlin, 1905). This 
book, also, has just appeared in Por- 

^ Fritz Krause: In den WUdnissen 
BnaUhns (Leipzig, 191 1). 

^Edand Nordensldõld: InéBamr- 
Ubm (Leipzig, 1912). 

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ço The Masters and the Slaves 

these African cultural areas have been described, in accordance with 
the latest anthropological technique, by Leo Frobenius,'*'* while those 
of America have been masterfully portrayed by Wissler and Kroeber, 
so that we are thus afforded a comparison between the moral and 
material values accumulated on the two continents. 

The principal cultural traits of the tribes of northeastern Brazil, 
many of which traits are to be found throughout practically the 
entire country, have been summed up by WhiSen as follows: 

hunting, fishing, the cultivation of manihot, tobacco, and the coca- 
berry, and to a less extent of maize, yams or cará, the jerimum, and 

the clearing of fields by fire (the cowara) and the furrowing of them 
with a digging stick and not with a hoe; 
no domestic animal; 
all animal life made use of as food; 

the use of honey, from bees that had been domesticated to a certain 


the use of manihot flour or cakes and of small game preserved in 
spices, as the two basic elements of diet; 

the use of manihot wrapped in straw or matting and pressed; 

the use of mashed coca-oerries and mimosa seeos as snuff; 

the use of tobacco only in the fonn of a beverage aiid in certain 

the knowledge and use of curare and other poisons; 

employment of the bow and arrow, the lance, the oar; 

fishing with poison cast upon the water, but also with hook, trap, net, 

and pronged spear; 
the habit of eating clay; 


signaling by means of drums; 

phallic decoration; 

use of palm*fiber hammocks; 

•^Leo Frobenius: Ursprung der 
Africaniscben Kultiiren, cited by Mel- 
ville J. Herskovits: "A Preliminar)' 
Consideration of the Cultural Areas 
of Aírk»," American Antbropologistf 
V6L XXVI (1924). -On the correla- 
tion of cultural traits among the vari- 
ous primitive cultures, see the work 
by L. T. Hobhouse, G. C Wheeler, 
and M. Ginsbere: The Material CuA- 
ture and SoeiJ Instiuaient of the 
Simple Peoples (London, 191 5).— Ott 
Herskovits*s map Africa is divided in 
accordance with the American con- 

cept of "cultural area** as defined by 
Alexander A. Goldenweiser in "Dif- 
fusionism and the American School 
of Historical Ethnology," American 
Jaunud of Sociology, VoL XXXI 
(1925), and by Clark Wissler in Man 
and Culture; it is likewise in accord 
with the technique applied by Wissler 
to his study of the two Americas. 

'^Whiffen, op. cit. The author 
menrioos other traits in addition to 
tiiose that I give here aa being the 
more charactedsdc and important 

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The Native in the Brazilian Family 9 1 

cenunics and baskec-weavii^ 

no metal; Ihde use of stone; wooden implements; 

canoes hollowed oat of wood; 

uprooting of trees by means oi wedges; 

large wooden mortars for pounding cocoa, tobaccOi and com; 
frequent change of habitation and of crops; 

entire communities dweUing in a single big quadrangular thatched 
house, supported on the inside by four rafters, and without a chimney; 

the ground about the house swept clean, but the dwelling hidden away 
in the heart of the forest and accessible only by confused trails and paths; 

no art of apparel, unless it was the tree-bark of which the men made 

combs for the women made of bits of palm-stalk; 
necklaces of human teeth; 

decorative bands about the body; piercing of the nose; rattles attached 

to the legs; elaborate painting of the body; 

a kind of conference or conclave, with a black drink made of tobacco 
as the center of the ceremony, before embarking upon some important 
undertaking of war or peace; 

the couvade; 

forbidding of women to take part in the more serious ceremonies or 
to be present at the initiation of youths into puberty; 

the low-voiced pronunciation of the names of persons, while úiose of 
mythical characters were barely whispered; 

the importance ascribed to witchcraft and the gross frauds that were 
perpetrated in its name; the sucking-out of diseases by the witch-doctor, 
w hose principal function, incidentally, was to draw out the evil spirits 
from the body; 

two great ceremonies to celebrate the harvest and the ripening of 
fruit, 01 the manihot and the j)incapple; 
the cruel flogging of lads m the ceremonies of puberty; 
the trial by biting ant^ 

the formal presentation of the rancors and grievances of individuals to 
the group; 

a kind of sieve dance; emplo3nnent of the Panpipe, the flute, castanets, 

and rattles; 

housing of each exogamous group in a single habitation; monogamy; 
the tracing of descent on the paternal side; a chief and leader for each 
house, with a council composed of all the adults of mascuUne sex; 

stories that have a resemblance to European folklore; animal tales that 
are reminiscent of African lore; 

worship of the sun and 

burial of the dead. 

These are widespread characteristics of that culture which Wisder 

classifies as the "culture of the tropical forest" and which takes in 
practically the whole of Brazil. 
The culture of the Atlantic seaboard -the one with which Euro- 

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92 The Masters and the Slaves 

peans in Brazil first came into contact-shows the following addi- 
tional traits: 

the habit of smoking tobacco in a pipe; 
settlements surrounded by stockades; 

good stone implements; 

in place of a simple burial of the dead, the placing of their remains in 

On the other hand, the ctdture of the Ge-jBotoCudo, or Tapuia of 
central Brazil, is lacking in some of the traits mentioned: in the little 
agriculture and weaving and the beginnings of astrology that are to 
be found among the northern and the coastal tribes; the manufacture 
and use of stone implements; die use of the hammock for sleeping. 
In the Gé-Botocudo culture those traits are accentuated which, ac- 
cording to Wissler, rekte diis people to die Patagonians, indicating 
a stage of development inferior to that of die Tupis. Among others 
mentioned is that of cannibalism." 

As for domestic animak to be found among either of the two prin^ 
dpal groups— the Tupis and the Gè-Botocudos we should note, 
contrary to Wissler*s ^eralized statement above, the presence of 
"a few domesticated birds such as jacamis,*^ of rodents such as the 
cutia** and the paca, and a few mcMokeys.'* ^ The truth is that none 
of these animab was employed either in domestic service or in die 
carrying of burdens, which were painfuUy borne upon the native's 
back, most often that of the woman. Their purpose, it might be said, 
was simply to keep their owner company and not to furnish him with 
food— unless we look upon the honey-making bees as serving man, 
along with those tame birds that Roquette Pinto found being used as 
dolls by the children of the Nhanibiquara tribe.'^^ 

Theodoro Sampaio, who in his study of the Tupi language has 
done so much to unveil the intimate life of the aborigines of Brazil, 
states that round about the dwelHng of the savage *'and even invading 
it with the greatest famiharity, there developed a world of domestic 

oQark Wissler: The Americm 
IfuUm (New York, 19»). 
'^As Roquetce Pinto says, 'Ve 

may, in a general way, separate all 
our tribes into two groups with re- 
gard to their sta^e of culture. . . . 
This ffi die primitive divisioa that re- 
asserts itself, no longer from the point 
of view of linguistics alone, but with 
the force of a sociological criterion." 
Seixos Rolados (op. cit.). 

'^The jacam or jacamhn, is a bird 
of the PsopbntUe family, or Sondi 

American trumpeters. (Translator.) 

Rodent of the Caz^id<e familv, 
which includes the guinea-pigs, etc. 
(Dasyprocta aguti Lin.). (Transla- 

Roquette Pinto, op. cit. 
^' Roquette Pinto: Rondônia (op. 

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The Nathe in the Brazilian Family 9 3 

animals to which the name of iimnbaha was given." But they were all 
animals that were kept for the owner's pleasure, because he liked 
them, and not for domestic sen-ice or use of other kind: "birds of 
beautiful plumage such as the flamingo (guará), the arara,^^ the 
Canindé,^ the toucan, a large number of partridges (ianhambi or 
lambú), urus,** and swans (ipeca), along with animals like the mon- 
key, the coati, the irara,^- the hart, the cat (pichana), and even tame 
snakes, were to be found in the most intimate gatherii^." ^ 

Among Amerindians in this part of the country, as among primitive 
peoples in general, there was a certain fraternity between animals 
and men, a certain l3nic]sm, even, in their relations. Karsten encoun- 
tered among the Jibaros a myth to the effect that there once was an 
age in which the animals talked and acted exactly like men. And to 
this day, he adds, «"the Indian makes no definite distinction between 
man and animal. He believes that all animals possess a soul of essen- 
tially die same kind as that of the human being, that intellectually 
and moraUy they are on the same level as man." Whence— independ- 
ently, even, of totemism, with which we shall concern ourselves later 
on— whence that (so to speak) lyric intimacy of the inhabitant of 
Brazil with a numerous group of animals, chiefly birds that have been 
tamed by him or reared in his house, without any thought on his 
part of making use of their flesh or eggs as food, or of their energy 
for domestic or agricultural labor or for draft purposes, or of their 
blood in religious sacrifices. 

As to monogamy, it was never general in those American cultural 
areas that were invaded by the Portuguese; polygamy had existed and 
still exists among the tribes that had kept themselves intact from 
the influence of European moralit}^ And not only the chiefs, but 
all the braves -those that were able to support a large family-took 
to themselves many wives.** 

Nor, in considering the most characteristic traits of those aborigines 

'^The guará is a bird of the Ibides 
family {Eudocwnus ruber Lin.), 

i*Bird of the Pskoei, or pacroc, 
fiaanilv. (Translator.) 

Another bird of the Psitaci fam- 
ily (Ara ararauna Lin.). (Translator.) 

^1 Bird of the Odontophorhut fam- 
ily, which includes the American 
ouafls {Odomaphofus guiannensit 
Gfff.). (Tianslator.) 

^Garnivoious animal of the MuS' 

telidce family, which includes weasels, 
skunks, badgers, etc. {Tayra barbara 
Lin.), (Translator.) 

^Theodore Sampab: O TVpf m 
Qeo grafia Nacional (The Tupi in 
National Qeograpby) (jid editioii, 
Bahia, 192R). 

Rafael Karsten: Civilization of 
the South American Indians (London, 
1929). See also Roquetce Pioto: Sflbor 
Rolados (op. dc). 

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94 The Masters and the Slaves 

to be met with in Brazil, should we underestimate one that Wissler 
appears to have ov crlooked: the use of devil and animal masks, which 
possess a mystical and cultural significance, as stressed by Kocb- 
Griinberg and lately, and notably, by Karsten.^' 

With regard to the moral culture of the early inhabitants of Brazil, 
we are interested principally, within the limits that we have set our- 
selves in this essay (those of sexual and family relations), in magic 
and myths. There are traits that, with great emotional vivacity in 
the beginning, were communicated to the hfe and culture of the 
Portuguese colonizer; and while they have since been dimmed by the 
greater influence of the African, they still exist in the primitive depths 
of our social, moral, and religious organization, where they break, 
or seriously threaten to break, the supposed uniformity of the Catho- 
lic or European pattern. 

In the middle of the sixteenth century Father Anchieta notes that 
anumg the Brazilian aborigines the woman is not annoyed when the 
man who is her companion takes another woman or other women: 
"even though he leave her altogether, she is not concerned, for if 
she is still young, she herself finds another mate." And "if the woman 
happens to be a strong, masculine type, she in turn may leave her 
husband and seek another." *^ 

This changing of husbands and wives was, naturally, a point upon 
which Cathohc morality, which meant the stem orthodoxy repre- 
sented by the fathers of the Society of Jesus, could not and did not 
compromise; the effort made by the Jesuits to enforce the practice 
of a strict mcmogamy In the colony must have been a tremendous one, 
not only with respect to the bi^tized Indians, but with regard to the 
Portuguese colonists as well; for the clergy itself, in conflict with the 
Jesuit padres, facilitated the free unioa with "Negresses.** Already 
addicted to polygamy through contact unth the Moors, lihe Portu- 
guese found in the sexual code of the Amerindians an opportamty to 
give free and easy rein to this Mozarabic tendency to live with many 
women ( a tendency that during the last two centuries had been some- 
what suppressed and then had broken out again). 

The two peoples who first met in this part of America-that is to 
say, die Portuguese male and the Indian woman^were highly sezed. 
Contrary to the general impressbn that it was for the most part the 

*5 Tbeodor Koch-Griinbcrg: Zwei (T Anchieta" ("Data on the Marriages 

Jabrg tmter den Indkoum (op. cic). of the Brazilian Indians, by Father 

Karsten, op. cit. Jose d'Anchieta"), Revista do In- 

'^l7tf armação dos Casementos dos stituto Histórico e Geogrâphico Bra» 

índios do Brasil pelo Padre José sileiro, Vol. VIII, p. 105. 


The Native in the Brazilian Family 95 

African who comroumcated to the Brazilian his lubricity, it is my 
belief that the former, as a matter of fact; was sexually the weakest 
of the three elements that united to form our country, the Portuguese 
being the most libidinous. In any event, among the Negroes— the 
pure Negroes, immune from Mussulman influence— erotic dances 
were more frequent and more ardent than among the Amerindians 
and the Portuguese, and this would appear to indicate a weaker de- 
gree of sexuality. This is the opinion of a number of modem ethnolo- 
gists and anthropologists» which differs from that held by the older 
ones; among them may be mentioned Crawley, who devotes some of 
his finest pages to diis subject; and Westermarck,^^ while from the 
point of view of sexual psychology and genetic sodology, there is 
Havelodc Ellis, who in this field can give lessons to them alL^ 

Fulfilling the functions of an aphrodisiac, that of an exdtant or 
stimulus to sexual activity, such dances point to a lack, and not; as 
many at first believed and some still do, to an excess of lubricity or 
libido. Erotk; dances such as those witnessed by Koch-Grtlmierg 
among the tribes of northeastern Brazil— with the men masked and 
each one equipped with a formidable membrwn virile, pretending to 
be performing the sexual act and spilling semen— would appear to be 
less frequent among the Amerindians tlian among the Africans, which 
leads to the conclusion that the sexuality of the former had less need 
of a stinnilus. iMeanwhile, we should note the fact that much of the 
animal ardor of the nomad Indian warrior of the Americas was ab- 
sorbed by the necessities of competition before it could be sexualized: 
by intertribal warfare, migrations, hunting, fishing, and defense 
against wild animals. He did not possess that surplus of leisure and of 

"The notion that the Negro race 
is peculiarly prone to sexual indul- 
gence is due partly to the expansive 
temperament of the race, and nie sex> 

ml character of many of their festi- 
vals— a fact which indicates rather the 
contrary and demonstrates the need 
of aiidficial excitement."— Ernest 
Crawly: Studies of Smfagfit and Sex, 
edited by Theoiore Beseennan (Lon- 
don, 1929). See also on this subject: 
The Mystic Rose, by the same author, 
edited by Besterman (New York, 
1927); and E. A. Westermarck: The 
History of Human Marriage (Lon- 
don, 1921), and The Origin and De- 
velopment of Moral Ideas (London, 

1926). The idea, incidentally, of the 
weak sexuality of primitive peoples 
is not universally accepted by moaem 
anthropologists; among others who 

think differently from Grawley, 

Havelock Ellis, and Westermarck, at 
least with regard to the Africans, are 
Leo Frobenius: Und Africa Spracb; 
Unter den UnstrafUchen Athiopen 
(Chailottenburg, 1913); and Georg 
Schweinfurth: Im Herzen von Africa 
(3rd edition, Leipzig, 1908). See H. 
Fehlinger: Sexual Life of Primitive 
People (London, 192 1). 

^Havelode Ellis; judies in 
Psychology of Sex (Philaddphia» 

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çó The Masters and the Slaves 

food which Adlez from the biological and Thomas from the sociolog- 
ical point of view see as bound up with the development of the sexual 
system in man.*' 

Paulo Prado lays emphasis on the meeting here on our shores of 
the "disorderly way of Hfe of the European conqueror" with the 
"sensuality of the Indian." Of the Indian woman, to be exact. Those 
"priapic" caboclas who were so foolishly enamored of a w4iite man. 
The essayist who gave us the Vortrait of Brazil goes on to remind us 
of the impressions that the early chroniclers formed of sexual morality 
among the natives. Impressions of amazement or of horror. Thus we 
hear Gabriel Soares de Sousa observing that the Tupinambás "are so 
lustful that there is no sin of lust which they do not commit." There 
is Father Nóbrega, who is alarmed by the number of wives that each 
native has and the readiness with which he abandons them. And 
finally there is Vespucd, writing to Lorenzo de' Medici that the 
Indians "take as many wives as they like, and the son has intercodise 
with the mother, and the brother with the sister, and the male cousin 
with the female cousin, and the one who is out walking with the first 
woman whom he meets." ^ 

It was natural that Europeans, surprised at encounterii^ a sexual 
code so different from their own, should have come to the conclusion 
that the aborigines were extremely lustful, whereas, of the two peo- 
ples, the conqueror himself was perhaps the more lascivious. 

As to that prevalence of incestuous relations of which Vespucci 
speaks in his letter, some ten years later a more accurate observer than 
die Italian, Father Anchieta, was to give us detailed information. 
The missionary notes that the aborigines regarded as ''true relation- 
diip" that which they traced "on the side of the fathers, who are the 
active agents," the mothers being ''no more than so many bags . • . 
in which children are created,'' as a result of which attitude they used 
"their sisters' daughters ad copulam without any scruple." " He adds 

Adlez, cited by Crawley: Studies 
of Savages and Sex (op. cit.). W. 1. 
Thomas: Sex and Society (Chicago). 

Paulo Prado: Retrato do BrasU 
(op. cit.). 

" It may be of interest to compare 
the disrespectful slang term **ba^" ap- 
plied to a vnxnaa mà current in tne 
IJnited States. (Translator.) 

Anchieta, loc. cit., note 50 above. 
—With regard to the distinction that 
Anchieta makes between those nieces 
who are the daughters of brocliers 

and those who arc the daughters of 
sisters, Rodolfo Garcia writes: 'The 
former were respected by the Indians 
and treated as daughters; they held 
them in esteem and had no carnal 
knowledge of them {neque fomi- 
carie)f lor die reason that they be- 
lieved true blood-relationship to be 
on the side of the fathers, the latter 
being the active agents, whereas the 
mothers were no more than bags in 
which the children were created; and 
so it was that th^ used the dauglicen 

Copyiiytited material 

The Native in the Brazilian Family 97 

that these latter "now [in the middle of the sixteenth century] are 
married off bv their fathers with their uncles, their mother's brothers, 
if the parties are content, by reason of the power which they have of 
disposing of them. . . All of which goes to show that, already at 
the beginning of the colonial period, the sexual morality of the In- 
dians had to some extent come to be aifccted by Catholic morality 
and the laws of the Church itself regarding consanguineous marriages. 

Moreover, sexual intercourse among the aborigines in this part of 
America was in general not so unbridled an affair, so free of re- 
strictions, as Vespucci might lead us to believe, nor was life among 
the natives that endless orgy visualized by the first travelers and mis- 
sionaries. As Fehlinger observes,** laxity of this sort, sexual license, 
and libertinism are not to be met with among any primitive people; 
and Baker '^^ emphasizes the innocence of certain customs -such as 
the offering of womenfolk to a guest— which were practiced solely 
out of an instinct of hospitality. What tends to disfigure these customs 
is the evil interpretation that has been put upon them by superficial 
observers. The contrary may today be asserted: that the sexual im- 
pulse in the American savage was relatively weak. At least in the 
man -the more sedentary and regular life of the woman endowing 
her with a sexuality superior to that of the male, to so disproportion- 
ate a d^ree as will perhaps explain the priapism of many of the 
women toward white men. 

Gabriel Soares alludes to the crude process by which the Tupinam- 
bás augment the size of the ntembrum virile, concluding from diis 
that they are exceedingly libidinous. Dissatisfied *'with the genital 
member as nature formed it," the sixteenth-century chronicler tells 
us, the Tupinambás were in the habit of placing around it "the hide 
of some poisonous reptile, causing it to swell up most painfully for 
a period of more than six months, after which, with the lapse of time, 
the pain goes away, leaving the organ so huge and misshapen that the 
women are not able to endure it. . . ." ** Yet even this practice, ap- 
parently a bit of pure licentiousness, indicates the necessity that the 
natives felt of making up for a physical or psychic deficiency with 
regard to the generative function, rather than dissoluteness or sadistic 

of sisters ad copulam without an^ 
scruple and nuide of them their 

wives "—Diálogos das Grandezas do 
Brasil (op. cit.), with an Introduction 
by Capistrano dc Abreu and Notes 
by Rodolfo Garcia, Sixth Dialogue, 
note 7, p. 316. 

•'^^Op. cit^ note 51 above. (Trans- 

^'*John Baker: Sex in Man and 
Anhnak (Londcm, 1926). (Transla- 

Gabriel Soares de Sousa, op. du, 

p. 317. 

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98 The Masters and the Slaves 

masochism. It is indeed a known fact that among primitive peoples 
the sexual organs are generally less developed than among the civi- 
lized; and in addition, as has just been stated, the savages felt the 
need of saturnalian or orgiastic practices as a compensation, through 
indirect erethism, for the difficulty they experienced in achieving, 
without that aphrodisiac oil provided by the sweat of lascivious 
dances, a state of excitation and erection such as is readily accom- 
plished by the civilized. The latter are always ready for coitus; 
savages practice it only when pricked by sexual hunger." It would 
appear that amoi^ the more primitive tribes there was even a £xed 
period for the union of male with female. 

Sexual intercouise for the natnres of Brazil was not lacking in 
restrictions; it was only out of ignorance or a tendency to fantasy 
that sixteenth-centtuy chronicle-writers were led to suppose that love 
among the caboclos was a mere satisfaction of the senses, with the 
male grasping and subjecting to his virile embrace the first female 
within the reach of his arms. Exogamy was one restriction observed 
by all, each group, so to speak, being divided into exogamous halves, 
which in turn were subdivided into still smaller groups or clans. 
Father Anchieta has already eaq>lained to us why it was the Tupis 
felt no repugnance at the union of a niece with her maternal onde: 
the reason being that the important relationship, the one that re- 
stricted sexual intetoourse and consequently regulated family life, 
was that which was traced on the father's side. It is not that the 
notion of incest or eveii of ootisangoinity was wholly absent in the 
Amerindian^ but consanguinity widi him was unilateral, and both 
notions were Tague, unpredse. Gabrid Scares notes that among die 
Tupinámbâs **che girl called all the idatim on her father's side 
father, and they cdled her daughter. • • .** And the author of the 
Roteiro further informs us that '^tfae uncle, brother of the girl's 
father, does not marry his niece, nor does he touch her when he does 
as he should do^ but JooIb upon her as a dan^^ter, and she, after her 
father's death, obeys him as she would her father. • . True, the 

MPkM^-Biitds: Dâs Wab (Bedin^ 


'^'^ Westermarck: The History of 
Human Marriage (op. cit.); 

Gabriel Soaras oe Soosa, op. dt. 
has woA Sex m Man ana Aid' 

vuds John Baker of Oxford Univer- 
sity makes the point that among prim- 
itive societies there is no special word 
for father or mother; under die tenns 

father and mother are classified, in- 
distinctly, a large number of relation- 
ships. Some ethnologists see in this 
fact an indication of a phase in the 
aenid life of sach sociedes in wiiicfa 
the womeil of one gfoiip were pei^ 
mitted intercourse with any man of 
the opposite group— of the two great 
groups into which each society is 
divkud. A similar ^stem of rdadoo» 


The Native in the Brazilian Family 99 

same chnHiicIer adds that it is not rare among die Tupinambás for a 
brothei to sleep widi his sister, but such diíngs were hidden away in 
die depths of die f oresL 

In addidon to the nodon, even though a vague one, of incest and 
diat of a unilateral consanguinity, there was another resttictkm to 
sexual intercourse among the aborigines of Brazil, and that was 
totemism, in accordance with which the individual member of a 
group that was supposed to be descended from or protected by a 
certain animal or plant might not form a union with a woman be- 
longing to a group that claimed the same descent or protection. It is 
known that exogamy as the effect of totemism was extended to groups 
as distant as possible from one another so far as blood-relationship was 
concerned. These groups formed mystic alliances, based upon their 
supposed relationship, or common descent from the wild boar, the 
jaguar, or the crocodile, avoiding one another as much as would 
brother and sister or uncle and niece where marriage or sexual union 
was involved. 

With all these restrictions, it may be seen that sexual life among 
the natives in this part of America was not so dissolute as it has 
been pictured, but was one bristling with taboos and impediments. 
These were neither so many nor so keenly felt as those that rendered 
difficult for Europeans the amorous relations of man with woman; 
but they did tend to create a social order that was quice different 
from one marked by promiscuity or debauchery. 

It is, for that matter, a mistake, and one of dus gravest, to suppose 
that ]ife among the savages, not only in this respect but in various 
others, was wholly free and untrammeled. Far from being the un- 
restrained animal the romanncs imagined him to be, the American 
man of the wilds, utterly naked and a nomad when discovered here, 
was one who lived in the shadows cast by fear and snpersddon; and 
many of these feais and superstitions oor mestizo culture was to 

absorb, cleansing them of their more gross and jumbled ingredients. 
Thus it is that our notion of caiporismo, so bound up with the psychic 
life of Brazilians today, is derived from the Amerindian belief in the 
prophedc powers of the caipora: a nude little caboclo who went on 
one leg, and whose appearance to tiie great ones was a certain sign 
of trouble to come."* The cmpora was swallowed np^ leaving in ms 

ships between the sexes, with the {Fequeno DicianériOf etc.): *^ttne 

children created in common, would of a mythical being that, varying with 

have constituted group marriage. diflFerent regions, is now represented 

A vivid description of the caipora as a one-legged woman who goes 

k givea Lioift and Banrno hopping along; now as a child widi 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

place caiporimto; just as the pajés ^ or medicine-men, disappeared, 
leaving behind them first the "Holiness" cults of the sixteenth cen- 
tury,^^ and later various forms of therapeutic and of animism, many 
of which today are embodied, along with survivals of magic or of 

an enormous head; again, as a little 
Indian who is under an enchanted 
spell; and yet again, as a man of 
colossal size, mounted on a peccaiy 
{porco do mato).** The tenn is also 
applied to one who is unfortunate in 
all his undertakings, or one who can 
see only the dark side of things. 
Caiporismo, as employed by Freyre, 
s^;nifies the entire complex that has 
grown up around this tradition. 

®^ In the denunciations of the Holy 
Office in Brazil, numerous references 
to the "Holiness" cults {^'sanHdadef*) 

are to be met with, among them Úxt 
following, which indicate that these 

manifestations, representing a hybrid 

compound of religion and magic, 
were possessed of a certain phdlic 
character. Domingos de Oliveira saw 
Fernão Pires "take from one of the 
figures of Our Lady or of Christ a 
bit of clay out of which he fashioned 
an image of the natural organ of 
man.** {First Visitation of the Holy 
Office to the Regions of Brazil— De- 
mmciations of Bahia— i ^çi-i S93 [São 
Paulo, 1925], p. 264.— "Fernão Cabral 
de Tayde, an aged Christian, in this 
year of Giace^ (August 2, 1591) 
nipon confessing himself, stated that 
six years ago, more or less, there arose 
among the heathen of the backlands 
a new sect that they called Holiness, 
having one whom they called Pope 
and a heathen woman whom they 
called the Mother of God, and a 
sacristan; and thev had an idol that 
they called Mary, which was neither 
man nor woman nor other animal, 
and this idol they did adore, saying 
cotain prayers with beads, and hang- 
ing up in the house that they called 
their church tablets with a certain 
writing upon them, saying that these 

were holy beads; and tJius in their 
own manner did tiiey counterfeit the 
dhrine worship of Ghristíans."— Goa- 
çallo Fernandes, an aged mameluco 

and a Christian" (January 13, 1592) 
"upon confessing himself, stated that 
six years ago, more or less, there arose 
in the backlands of this capitânia, in 
the direction of Jaguaripe, an er- 
roneous and id<Jatrous heathen sect 
supported by pagans and Christians 
and freedmen and slayes who had fled 
their masters to take part in the said 
idolatrous rites, and who, in the said 
disgraceful and idolatrous company, 
did counterfeit the ceremonies of the 
church and pretend to be telling their 
beads, as they prayed and spoke a 
certain barbarous tongue that had 
been invented by them, all the while 
smoking themselves with the fumes 
of an herb which they call the Holy 
Herb and drinking in the said smoke 
until they fell drunken with it, say- 
ing that with this smoke there did 
enter into them die spirit of holiness; 
and they have a stone idol before 
which they perform their ceremonies 
and which they worship, saying that 
their God is coming to deliver them 
from dieir state of wretchedness and 
that he will make them the masters 
of the white folk and that the whites 
will be their captives, and that who- 
ever does not believe in this disgrace- 
ful and Iddatrous cult, to which th^ 
ghre the name of Holiness, will fcle 
converted into a bird or into beasts 
of the forest, and thus do they say 
and do in the said idolatrous cult, and 
many other unbefitting things."— Ffrxt 
VishatUm of the Holy Of^e to the 
Regions of Brazil j by the Licentiate 
Heitor Furtado de Mendonça^ Con- 
fessions of Bahia (São Paulo, 1927), 
pp. 28 and 87. 

CopviiyikCJ 1 1 i UlCI lal 

The Native in the Brazilian Family i o i 

African religion, in that low-grade spiritualism which, in all the prin- 
cipal cities and rhroughout the interior of Brazil, competes so strenu- 
ously with European medicine and the exorcism of the priests. 

In the popular dress of rural and suburban Brazilians— the poor 
who live in huts or native shacks— as in their diet, their intimate life, 
their domestic arts, and their attitude toward sickness, the dead, ncw- 
bom children, plants, animals, minerals, the stars, etc., there remains 
a large trace of fetishistic, of totemistic influence, of the beginnings 
of astrology, and Amerindian taboos. At times it exists in almost a 
pure state; in many cases it has been reinforced and in others offset 
by the African, while almost always it has been dimmed by the subtle 
influence of the Catholic Church. 

A friend of mine who comes from the same part of the country 
and has traveled widely through the backlands of Brazil, the Per- 
nambucan physician Dr. Samuel Hardman Cavalcanti, once asked 
me to what I attributed the frequency of the color red among the 
women of the interior. This is to be observed in the northeast as well 
as in the far north and in Bahia, and I have noted it also in the in- 
terior of the states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, although in these 
latter r^^ions it is less frequent than in the former. In the Amazon 
country, among the pure caboclos and the hybrid offspring of caboclo 
and Negro, Gastão Cruls made this observation, which he has set 
down in his book The Amazon Reffon As I Saw It: "I note in these 
parts, as I have already observed in connection with the interior 
districts of the northei^ a decided predilection for scarlet on the 
part of the women. I do not know if this is merely a matter of taste, 
or, as they explained to me there, a mimetic attempt to ward off pos- 
sible vexations on cenain days of die month.** ^ The same thing was 
noted in die same region by the physician Samuel Uchôa.^ 

This frequent occurrence of the color scarlet in the popular dress 
of Brazilian woman, chiefly in the nordieast and the Amazon region, 
is typical of those instances in which die three influences—the Amer- 
indian, the African, and the Portuguese-would appear to have united 
into a whole without antagonism or attririon. In any event, whatever 
its origin, by whichever of the three ethnic paths it may have come, 
we are here dealing with a mystical custom involving the protecrion 
or prophylaxis of me individual against spirits or evil influences. But 
the greater influence seems to have been that of the Indian, for whom 

Gastão Cruls: A Amaasóma que Boletim Sanitário, National Depart- 

Eu Vi (Rio dc Janeiro, 1Q30V ment of Public Health (Rio de Ja- 

®2 Samuel Uchoa: ''^Costuvies Am- neiro, içij). 
azómcos'^ ("Amazonian Customs"), 


The Masters and the Slaves 

the painting of the body a scarlet hue (with the fruit of the urucú 
shrub) ^ was never the mere expression of a taste for the bizarre as 
the first chroniclers thought. We should not underestimate the fact 
that in painting, or rather anointing, themselves with urucú, the 
savages apparently, during the hunt or while fishing, were thus pro- 
tecting themselves from the action of the sun upon the skin, from the 
bites of mosquitoes and other insects, and from sudden changes in 
temperature— a custom observed by Professor von den Steinen among 
the Xingú tribes, by Krause among the Guarás, and by Crevaux 
among the Japurás; ®* nevertheless, we still find body-painting among 
the aborigines of Brazil fulfilling the purely mystical function of a 
prophylactic against evil spirits, and in a lesser number of cases the 
erotic one of sõnial attraction or exhibition. As a prophylactic against 
the evil ones, scarlet was die most powerful color, as Karsten's study 

As for the Portuguese, it would appear that the mysddsm associ- 
ated with the color red had been communicated to them through the 
Moors and the African Negroes, and to so intense a degree that in 
Portugal today red is the dominant hue as in no other country of 
Europe, not alone in the dress of the women of the people-the fish- 
wives of Lisbon, the tricanas, orcountr3rwomen, of Coimbra, Aveiro, 
and Ílhavo, the women of the port town of Vianna, those of the 
province of Minho, and the ^beira^^ of Leiria-but also as a means 
of prophylaxis against spiritual ills and in various other eimressions of 
popular life and the domestic arts. Red must be the roof of a house 
to protect those who dwell beneath it: 

Red are the tiles of your roofy 
Of virtues they hold a wealth; 
I pass beneath tbem^ mUng, 
And tbey at once ffve me beaUb,^ 

^ The dye-yielding urucú tree 
{urucuzeiro) belongs to the Bixaceee 
family {Bixa orellana L.). (Transla- 

^ Jules Grevanx: Voyages dans 

PAmerique du Sud (Paris, 1883).— 
According to Ozório de Almeida, the 
employment of urucú dye among the 
Indians of tropical America is to be 
regarded **oút as a mere adorumeut, 
but as an efficadons nie^ns of pfOCBC* 
tion against the sun and the tropicai 
heat.**— Ação Protetora de Urucu^ 
("The Protective Action of Urucú"), 

separata of the Boletim do Museu 
Nacional, Vol. VIII, No. i (Rio de 
Janeiro, 1931). Sinval Lins (cit^ by 
Gattio Gruls, op. dt.) states that m 
the interior of Minas it Is sdD the 
custom to paint with urnoá the ak&i 
of smallpox sufferers. 
^As telhas do teu telhado 

Siá veimd hat, teem vêríudei 

Passei por elas doeracy 

Logo me deram saúde. 

Pedro Fernandes Thomaz: Canções 
Populares da Beira (Popular Songs of 
Beira) (Lisbon, 189Ó). 

Copy I ILJI kCU 1 1 i UlCI lal 

The Native in the Brazilian Family 103 

Red is the color that âshing-boats are painted; it is also employed 
in those pojpular religious pictures depicting miracles and souls in 
furgatcry; it is used on the trappings of mules, in mats, and in the 
wrappings of various products of Portuguese industry; *• and, by 
reason of its miraculous virtues, it is the color of ribbons tied aÍ)out 
die necks of animals-donkeys, cows, oxen, goats.*' Even though die 
people to a degree have lost the nodon of its prophyhcdc qualities, it 
IS obvious that back of this predilecdon lie mysdcal motives. Widi 
the Portuguese^ red is still die color of love, symbolizing the desire of 

Among the Africans, the mystic red is associated with the chief 
ceremonies of life, ix4iere it shows the same prophylactic characteris- 
dcs as among the Amerindians. In the various African Xangô ^ sects 
that I visited in Recife and its suburbs, red is the prevailing color, 
men clad in scarlet shirts being prominent among the worshippers and 
most of the women's turbans, skirts, and shawls being of bright red. 
Ortiz, in his studies of Afro-Cuban mysticism, states that the color 
scarlet goes with the Xangô cult in Cuba; the women in fuliiUment 
of a vowy for a favor asked and received of Xangô, put on red, while 
for one obtained from Obatala (Virgin of Favors), they clothe them- 
selves in white.'"* 

In our carnival dances, the jnaracatus and reisados, the king of the 
Congo or the queen always appears in a red cape, and the banners of 
the popular carnival clubs, adorned with the heads of animals or the 
emblems of the various trades, painted or embroidered in gold, are 
scarlet in hue. In passing we may note the interest that these clubs 
hold, either as a dissimulated form -within the officially Catholic en- 
vironment of Brazilian life— of totemism or of African animism (a 
subject already rather thoroughly treated by Nina Rodrigues), or as 
a degenerate form of the medieval guilds, perverted by the system of 
slave labor that was here dominant. These corporadons, in Spain at 

least, were imposed upon or permitted to the Moors and N^rroes 

during the centuries preceding the colonization of America. 

•« Luiz Chaves: Vâgiruu FáUdáricâi 
(Pages of Folklore) (Lisbon, 1929). 

Leite de Vasconcellos: Ensaios 
Etbnográficos (op. cit.). 

''A p<n>i]]ar auatiam, cited hy 
Lekt de VMconcdloi (op. dt.) mm: 

Trazes vermelho nó ptíto, 
Srm/ de casamemo, 
XMte o vtftitdbo fonu 
Qifo Cãtmr tndã tem umpo. 

(Red on ynur bnsom you wear. 

Sign of marriage, they say; 

But there is still time for that; 

So throw títe fed away.) 
•® Fetish cult centering in the Afri- 
can deity Xangô. See Preface to the 
Third Exlition, note 11, p. Ixi. 

^Fernando Ortiz: Hampa AfrO' 
cubaM—Lat Ntffúes Bn^os (Ma- 
drid, 1917). 

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1 04 The Masters and the Slaves 

In Brazil that fondness for the color red which we have noted in 
the dress of women of the people, in the banners of the carnival 
clubs, in the c ipcs of the queen of the i/mracatú, is to be observed 
also in other aspects of popular life and domestic art: in the painting 
of the outside of houses and in their interior decoration; in the paint- 
ing- of tin-plate boxes and various domestic accessories of tin plate 
or of wood, such as watering-pots, bird and parrot cages, and the 
like; in the painting of ex-votos; and in the decorating of cake and 
sweetmeat trays-the erotic interest of which we shall study later 
on, in connection with a nomenclature that is impregnated with 
eroticism and which points to that association, common among Bra- 
zilians, of the taste of the palate with sexual taste. 

The conclusion to be drawn is that the Brazilian's preference for 
scarlet is a trait that is chiefly Amerindian in origin. As Karsten 
points out, the savage regards the great enemies of his body as being, 
not insects and repoles, but evil spirits.^^ These latter, primitive man 
imagines, are always on die watch for an opportunity to penetrate 
his body: through the mouth, through the nostrils, through the eyes, 
ears, hair. The important thing, accordingly, is to see to it that all 
these parts, looked upon as being the most critical and vulnerable, 
shall be especially well guarded from malign influences; whence the 
piercing of the nose or the lips with rings, bits of stone, and small 
rods; the use that is made of the bones and teeth of animals for such 
a purpose; the scraping of the head, which Pero Vaz de Caminha ^ 
was die first to note amoi^ the Indians and die nude Indian women 
of Brazil; the occasional painting of die teedi black. Â1I this by way 
of conjuring the evil spirits, keeping them away from man's vulner- 
able parts. Whence, also, the employment of a species of cosmedc of 
which various South American tribes, from Tierra del Fuego to 
Guiana, made use in anoindi^ the hair; this was generally a scarlet- 
colored ocher, sometimes a blood-red vegeitable juice. 

Von den Steinen found the Bororós of the River Xingu dyeing 
their hair scarlet before taking part in funeral dances and ceremonies 
—on which occasions the Indun feels himself particularly exposed to 
die malignant acdon of the spirit of the dead person and that of other 
spirits as well, all of them evil ones, which the savages believe are 
let loose or are likely to be provoked at such moments as tfais.^ Koch- 
Griinberg encountered the same custom among the Rio Negro tribes; 
he saw one whole tribe, with the exception of the medicine-man, 

^1 Karsten, op. cit. 

^2 Vaz de Caminha was clerk to the fleet of Pedro Alvarez Cabral, the dis- 
coverer of Brazil (1500). (Translator.) 
^ Von den Steinen, op. dt. 

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The Native in the Brazilian Family 1 05 

pointed led after a funeral. The German ethnologist further noted 
that, in conjuring dances In which cymbals were employed, the 
witch-doctors had their faces painted scarlet; presenting a honible 

Von den Steinen had occasion to witness a ceremony in which the 
Rio Xingú Indians conjured a meteor, with the banst or medicine- 
men, gesticulating vehemently and spitting in the air. And before con- 
fronting the enemy they had carefully painted their bodies a bright 
red shade with urucú. 

The aborigines of the Rio Negro region painted themselves with 
the red of die caraiurú plant when one of them fell ill with ft cold 
of the head or chest, the idea being to ward oft the evil in time by 
means of this prophylactic measure. And Koch-Griinberg found that 
the women of the Kobeuas were acciKtomed to paint thdr newborn 
children scarlet with the same object in view. This custom is «me 
that Léry ^® observed among the Tupis of the seaboard at the time of 
the discovery, and Spix and Martius^^ met with it among the Coro- 
ados at the beginning of the nineteenth century. 

The Toba women, according to Karsten, were in the habit of paint- 
ing their bodies an urucu-red while menstruating, a practice that he 
attributes to prophylaxis, a process of disinfection in warding off 
those evil spirits which were supposed to assail the woman with 
especial fury at such a period. Del Campana, for his part, observed 
that the women of the Chiriguanos would paint themselves scarlet 
when preparing the chicha,'^^ or sacred drink, and also after child- 
birth. Both men and women would do so when convalescing, to give 
themselves strength. Among the Caraiás, Jibaros, and various other 
tribes of the Orinoco region, when one member of the tribe sets out 
to visit another, he must paint his body red before putting in an 
appearance, and this procedure is repeated when the guest reaches his 
destination. It is Karsten's cpinion that in this case the painting is a 
prophylactic measure.'® It is the learned professor of ííelsíngfors 

whom we may credit with a real theory for the interpretation of 

Koch-Griinbcrg, op. cit. 

'•*The Caraiurú (carajurú) is an 
Amazoniaii phnt of the Bignoneaeec 
or trumpet-flower family {Arribadiea 
chic a Verlot). It yields a led dye. 

^•Jean de Léry: Histoire (Tun 
voyage fact en la terre du Brésil 
{namteUe edition evee une introdiue- 

tion et des notes par Paul Gaffarel; 
Paris, 1880). (Translator.) 

"i^Reise m Brasilien (Treveb m 
Brazil) (op. dt.). (Translator.) 

A fermented drink, generally 
made of corn, but also of fruit 
kernels, roots, or honey. (Lima and 
Barroso: Fequeno Dicionário, etc) 

^ Karsten, op. cit. 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

body-painting among the Amerindians^ one that sees in it a prophy- 
lactic or magic process in place of a mere decoration designed to exert 
a purely aesthetic or sensual appeal to the opposite sex. 

But for the savages of South America red was not merely, along 
with black, the prophylactic color, capable of safeguarding the 
human body against malignant influences; it was not merely one 
designed to give tone to the body, being possessed of the faculty of 
invigorating women after childbirth, and convalescents, and of en- 
dowing with the power of physical endurance those individuals who 
were employed at hard or eathausdog labor; nor was it dinply the 
good-luck hue, with the magic power of attracting the game to the 
hunter (with which purpose in mind the Canelos painted even their 
dogs). It was also the erotic color, of seducdon or attraction, not so 
much out of any consideration of beauty or aesthetic quality as for 
reasons of magic. It was the color with which the Canelos painted 
themselves when they wished to seduce a woman, die one of which 
the Cainguas of the Upper Paraná region made use in attracting into 
the forest the females they desired or of whom they had need in 
order to satisfy their sextud hunger, their procedure being one of 
intimidation rather than of courting. 

It is, indeed, not easy to say what was the basic motive that lay 
behind the American savage's preference for the color red. Possibly 
it was the fact that red was the color of blood and, for this very 
reason, enjoyed a mystic prestige among the primitive peoples of 
America whose life was stiU permanendy devoted to hunting and to 
war. Some anthropologists have suggested that these peoples may, as 
a matter of fact, have employed the red of the urucú and other dyes 
as a substitute for blood. 

As we consider, in this essay, the clash of the two cultures, the 
European and the Amerindian, from the point of view of the social 
formation of the Brazilian family— where a European and Catholic 
morality predominated— let us not forget, meanwhile, to note the 
effect of this contact upon the native from the point of view of his 
own culture. That contact was dissolvent in effect. Among the native 
populations of America, dominated by the colonist or the missionary, 
moral degradation was now complete, as always happens when an 
advanced culture meets with a backward one."* Under the technical 

"Degeneration probably operates 1929). See also, on this subject, the 

£ven more actively in the lower than work by James Br}xe: The Relations 

m the higher culture," says Edward of the Advanced and Backward Races 

B. Tylor: Friimthfe Culture (London, cif Mankind (Oxford, 1902). 

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The Native in the Brazilian Family 1 07 

and moral pressure of the advanced one, that of the backward people 
is dispersed. The aborigines lose their capacity for evolvii^ autono- 
mously, just as they are incapable of suddenly elevating themselves, 
through natural or forced imitation, to those standard which the 
impemlism of the colonizer imposes upon them. Even diou^ the 
fonm or accessories of the culture may be saved, there is lost what 
Pitt-Rivers ^ considers the potential— mat is to say, the cons tru c tiv e— 
capacity of the culture in question, its élany its rhythm. 

The history of the contact of the so-called "superior" races with 
those looked upon as "inferior" is always the same. Extermination or 
degradation. Chiefly because the conqueror means to impose upon the 
subject people the whole of his own culture, in one piece, without 
any compromise to soften the imposition. From the sixteenth century 
to the present day the missionary has been the great destroyer of 
non-European cultures, his activities in this respect having been more 
dissolvent than those of the layman. 

In the case of Brazil, what happened first was the collapse of 
Catholic morality on the part of a small minority of the colonizers, 
who in the beginning were intoxicated by the amoral environment 
created by contact with the indigenous race. Under the influence of 
the fathers of the Society of Jesus, however, colonization was to take 
a Puritan turn -even though it was a Puritanism less strictly adhered 
to in this part of the Americas, by the Portuguese Christians, than it 
was by the true Puritans, the English ones, in North America. But in 
any event much of the native spontandt^ was srifled, with the Jesuits 
subsritudng for the songs of the aborigmcs, so âlled with the flavor 
of life in the wilds, the dbcy and mechanical hymns of devotion which 
they diemselves had composed, and which never spoke of love save 
in such terms as might be applied to Our Lady and the saints. Upon 
the natural r^onal differences in speech was superimposed a single 
tongue, the "general" one; ^ and caboclos who had reached the stage 

of catechumens vrett now compelled to do away with those dances 
and fesrivals that were most impregnated with the instincts, interests, 
and animal energy of the conquered race, all that was preserved being 
an occasional chUdhood dance of some charm. 

What is more, tJie Jesuits sought to destroy, or at least to castrate, 
every virile expression of religious or artistic culture diat was nor in 
agreement with Gadiolic monility and European convmtions. They 
separated art ixom life. They laid the f oundadons in Brazil for an art 
that should be, not an expression, a prolongatioii, of the life and the 

*iSee note 86 bèlowi ^See p. lótf. 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

physical and psychic experience of the individual and the social 
group, but one that consisted in exercises in composition and penman- 

Whatever was saved of the native, Amerindian culture of Brazil 
was saved in spite of the Jesuit influence; for if the padres had had 
their way, only vague and formless phases of that culture would have 
remained following the Porniguese conquest, and these would have 
been cleverly adapted by them to Roman theology and European 
morals. Nor could the outlook of these good and austere soldiers of 
the Church have been other than what it was; for they more than 
any others had the vocation of catechists and empire-builders. The 
economic imperialism of the European bourgeoisie was anticipated by 
the religious imperialism of the fathers of the Society of Jesus, by the 
Europeanizing ardor of the great Catholic missionaries of the six- 
teenth and seventeenth centuries,*' whose place was later taken by 
the Presbyterians and the Methodists, who were still more harsh and 
uncompromising than the Jesuits had been.®* 

With the segregation of the natives into large settlements, the 
Jesuits fostered in the bosom of the aboriginal populations one of 
the most deadly and deep-going influences. It was the entire rhythm 
of social life that was thus altered for the Indians; for peoples ac- 
customed to a scattered and roaming life are úways ácgnátá when 
concentrated into large communities and forced to adopt an abso- 
lutely settled mode of existence. 

But from the point of view of the Church, I repeat, it must be 
admitted that the padres acted hercHcally; they were admirably firm 

Disagreeing with Max Wchcr, 
who in his study GesaDwielte 
Aiffsatze zur Religionsoziologie (Ber- 
lin, 1922) idendfies modern capitalism 
and, consequently, colonizing im- 
perialism with Calvinism and Puritan- 
ism, R. H. Tawncy stresses the fact 
that the centers of finance and the 
capitalistíc q>iric in the fifteenth cen- 
tuy—Florence, Venice, soodiem 
Gennany, and Fhndets— were Cath- 
olic and not Protestant.— 7? e/Z^ow 
and the Rise of Capitalimi (London, 
1926). Here, however, I am referring 
to that religioas imperialism which 
was the predecessor of the economic 
and of which, in the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries, the Jesuits were 
the militant exponents. On Weber's 

thesis, see W. R. Robertson: Aspects 
of the Rise of Capitalisin ( Cambridge, 
1929); and Amintore Fanfani: Cat- 
toUeismo e Fratestantkmo netta 
Forfftazione Storica del Capitalismo 
(Milan, 1934). 

Freyre, brought up as a Catholic, 
spent ten formative years of his life 
at die Gilreath American School in 
Recife. At 16 or 17 he went through 
a religious crisis and became inter- 
ested in Protestantism, which he later 
gave up. He has remained on good 
terms with his former teachers, both 
Catholic and Protestant. See Lewis 
Hanke: "Gilberto Freyre: Brazilian 
Social Historian," Quarterly Jottmal 
of Inter-Ajnerican Relations, Vol 1, 
No. 3 (July 1939), pp. 24-44, (Editor.) 

Copyrighted material 

The Native i?i the Brazilian Family 1 09 

In thdr orthodoxy, loyal to their ideals; and in connection wnth any 
criticism that is made of their interference with native life and culture 
in America--the first culture to be subtly and systematically degraded 
-we must take into account this higher religious and moral motive 
that inspired their activity. Judging them, hoiK^er, by another 
criterion-purely as European agents in the disint^aticm of native 
values— we must conclude that ^eir influence was a harmful one*^ 
Quite as harmful as that of the colonists, their antagonists, who, 
animated by economic interest or pure sensuality, saw in tlie Indian 
only a voluptuous female to be taken or a rebellious slave to be sub- 
jugated and exploited for purposes af agriculture. 

If we study die picture painted for us by Pitt-Rivers of die del- 
eterious influences— depopulation, degeneration, degradation— which 
die English anthropologist attributes to the contact of advanced races 
with backward ones,®* we shall find that a large if not the major part 
of these are influences that were operative upon the Brazilian Indian 
through the catechism or through the moral, pedagogical, and organ- 
izational system, with its sexual division of labor, that was imposed by 
the Jesuits. Of the fifteen influences classified by Pitt-Rivers, it is my 
opinion that, in striking a balance-sheet of European responsibilities 
for the racial and cultural degradation of the aborigines in Brazil, we 
shall find that at least nine are applicable to the Jesuit padres and their 
civilizing methods: 

I. the concentration of the aborigines in large settlements (a 
measure that the missionaries exerted themselves to enforce) 

^ Gonçalves Dias, in his book O 
Brasil e a Oceâma (Brazil and Oce- 
aaia) (Sio Luiz, tdágl), hys emphisfa 
upon die dissolvent effect of the Jes- 
uit system. In speaking of the Jesuit 
fathers he says: "They loosened fam- 
ily ties, leading children and wives to 
denounoe parems and husbands; they 
deprived them of their will-power 
and love of independence, and by 
means of humiliations, disciplinary 
measures, and infamous punishments 
inflicted in the public square— in- 
flicted even upon the tribal chieftains 
and endured by them as a meritorious 
act— they stifled and consumed that 
sense of personal dignit)' without 
which no praiseworthy effort is pos- 
sible on the part of our species." 

••George Henry Lane and Fox 

Pitt-Rivers; The Clash of Cultures 
and the Contact of Races (London, 

s^This point is emphasized by a 

historian who is extremely sympa- 
thetic with the Jesuits, Capistrano dc 
Abreu: "The Jesuits, intelligent and 
practical observeis, bod concentrated 
their efforts upoa making of the vari- 
ous native villages one single settle- 
ment, ruled over by a sort of bailiff 
named by the governor, invested with 
the staff of omce, whidi puffed them 
up wMi vanity, and with the means 
of makmg themselves obeyed, being 
able to send people to jail; they had 
bent their efforts toward this end and 
toward extinguishing anthropophagy, 
polygamy, and the drinking of fruit 
wines, for which the Indians were 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

2. the dressing of the natives in European garb (another thing 
that the Jesuits imposed upon their catechumens) ; ®* 

3. segregation on plantations;^ 

4. the raising of obstacles to marriage in the native manner; 

5. the application of European penal legislation to supposed crimes 
of fornication; 

6. the abolition of inter-tribal warfare; 

7. the abolition of polygamy; 

8. the increase of infant mortality due to new conditions of life; 

9. the abolition of the communal system and of the authority of 
the chieftains (and, we may add, that of the pajés, or medicine-men, 
as well, the latter beii^ a special target because of religious rivalry 

famous."— Appendix to Tratado da 
Terra e Gente do Brasil (op. cit.). 
And Ayres de Cazal, in his Chore- 
ographs BrasiUca (op. ck.) p. 129, 
sums up the civilizing methods of the 
Jesuits as follows: "Within a brief 
span of years the Jesuits had reduced 
the various hordes of the nation to a 
setded life in the great villages known 
as Reduções, the number of which in 
the 1630*8 amounted to twenty, with 
70,000 inhabitants. . . ." He is refer- 
ring to the celebrated settlements of 
the Guaranis in the south, whose 
mode of life he describes in detail: 
**Each of the Reduções, another name 
for missions, was a large or fairly 
large town, and all were of the same 
pattern, with straight-running streets 
crossing at right angles; the houses 
were generally of earth, covered widi 
tile, whitewashed, and with verandas 
along the sides as a protection against 
the heat and rains; so that, seeing one 
of them, one could form a good idea 
of the others. • • • A vicar and a 
cnrate, both Jesuits, were the only 
ecclesiastics and sufficed to exercise 
all the parochial functions; thc\' were 
the inspectors in all matters of civil 
economy, and under their direction 
were magistrates (corregedores) 
elected annually, a chief who held 
office for life, and other officials, each 
with his own province and jurisdic- 

tion. With the exception of these, all 
individuals of either sex wore trailing 
robes made of white cotton or some 
such matertsL . . . And everything 
was under die supervision of the 
corregedores or otner subordinates." 
—This was precisely the regime of a 

boarding-school kept by priests. Or 
of an orphan-aayium. All dressed 
alike. An absolutely sedentary exist- 
ence. A large concentration of peo- 
ple. Stem vigilance and supervision. 
The nudity of the caboclos, men and 
women, cloaked with ugly robes that 
resembled children's nightgowns. Uni- 
formity. Young girls segregated from 
the men. It was, in short, the Jesuit 
system as it had been refined in Para- 
guay that, in a milder form, held sway 
m BraziL While admirably efficient, 
k was a regime that was destructive 
of any animal spirits, freshness and 
spontaneity, combativeness of mind, 
or cultural potential that the aborig- 
ines may have possessed; for these 
qualities and that potential could not 
survive the total destruction of the 
sexual, nomad, and warrior habits that 
had been forcibly uprooted in the 
Indians thus gathered together in the 
great settlements* 

^Cspistrano de Abreu, loc. dt. 
Ayres de Cazal, op. ctt. 

^ Ayres de Cazal, op. cit., I, p. 129. 

Copyriyi iicu I : i ulCI lal 

The Native in the Brazilian Family 1 1 1 

between them and the padres, for ^\•hich reason they were more 
important than the muruinxabaSy or temporal chiefs) 

Some of these re^onsibilities are perhaps to be shared with the 
colonists: among others, the segregation of the savages on plantations 
and the sexual division of labor after the European modeL And it was 
the colonists and not the Jesuits who in a large number of instances 
were the principal dysgenesic agents among the aborigines: for they 
it was who altered the latter's diet and mode of labor, thereby dis- 
turbing their metabolism; and they were also the ones who intro- 
duced endemic and epidemic diseases and who comrnunciated to die 
natives the use of sugar-cane brandy. 

It may be seen, meanwhile, that the more systematized it was, the 
greater in effect was the deadly or harmful influence of the morality, 
mode of instruction, and technique of economic exploitation em- 
ployed by the padres. To the colonists, for example, the nudity of 
slaves or plantation "help" (aâmímstrados) meant little; it even 
suited their financial interests. It is known diat one rich colonist in 
the early days went so far as to have himself served at table by naked 
Indian women,*^ and his case would not appear to have been an 
isdated one; whereas the good fathers from the first had insisted diat 
the natives dhould be dad in a manner befitting Christian modesty; at 
most, they merely tolerated nakedness in the young, or in young and 
grown-ups alike when there was absolutely no do to be had for the 
making of garments.'* 

«>o"The pajés;' says Affonso d'E. 
Taunay, "would flee for leagues from 
the detested inacianos (Jesuits), who 
in turn abominaced them; and this 
was unfortunate, for much might have 
been learned from the medicine- 
men."— "/I Fundação de São Paulo" 
("The Founding of São Paulo"), 
Revista do Instituto Histórico e 
Geogrâpbico Brasileiro^ Vol. Ill, spe- 
cial volmne of the First Imeroational 
Congress of American History (Rio 
de Janeiro, 1927). 

®^ The colonist in question was 
Paschoal Barrufo da Bertioga. The 
incident is rdated by Father SimBo de 
Vasconcellos: **At dinner-time they 
brought in to serve at table some 
Indian maids, immodestly nude. . . 
It was a dinner at which Jesuits were 

present, and diey were scandalized.— 
Vida do Venerável PaJrc Joseph de 
Anchieta da Compivihia lesu. . . , 
Coinposto pello Fadre Sitnao de 
Vasctmeettos . . , (Life of the Ven- 
erable Father Joseph de Anchieta of 
the Society of Jesus. . . . Composed 
by . . . etc.) (Lisbon, 1672).— Theo- 
doro Sampaio relates the occurrence, 
adding that "the Indian slave girls, 
pretty brunettes, gave rise to many 
domestic tempests."— "S. Paulo no 
Tempo de Anchieta" ("São Paulo in 
the Time of Anchieta"), /// Cente- 
nario do Venerável Joseph Anchieta 
(Third Centenary, etc.) (S5o Panlo, 

®2 Referring to the first Indians who 
were Christianized, Capistrano de 
Abreu (op. cit.) states that "as cloth- 


The Masters and the Slaves 

The immediate and profound dysgenic effects of this imposition 
of European garb upon peoples accustomed to going nude or to 
covering their bodies merely for purposes of decoration or by way of 
protecting them from the sun and cold and insect-bites are well 
known today. This forced use of clothing, it is believed, has played 
no small part in the development of those skin and pulmonary diseases 
that have competed with one another in decimating whole popula- 
tions of savages after the latter had submitted to the rule of the civi- 
lized; and these were diseases that in sixteenth- and seventeenth-cen- 
tury Brazil took a terrible toll.®* 

The forcing of clothes upon the natives by European missionaries 
was to affect the Indian's traditional concepts of morality and hy- 
giene, for which it was difficult to substitute new ones. Thus, there is 
to be observed in many individuals belonging to tribes that were ac- 
customed to goii^ naked a tendency to ãce off their European 

ing did not arrive for all of them, the 
women went naked." His aothoricy is 
Father Cardim. The aixteenth-centiiry 

visiting priest gives us a striking de- 
scription of the first Indian women 
who were clothed: *'diey are so mod- 
est; sexene, virtuouSi and bewildered 
thac they appear to be statues leaning 
against their male companions; and 
when they walk, their slippers fall off, 
for they are not accustomed to wear- 
ing them."— Femao Cardim: Tratados 
da Terra e Gente do Brasil, with In- 
troduction and Notes by Baptista 
Caetano, Capistrano de Abreu, and 
Rodolfo Garcia (Rio de Janeiro, 
1925).— From this it may be seen that 
there was an element of the ridicn* 
lous, along with a note of sadness* m 
this imposition of clothing upon the 
aborigines of the year 1500. Speaking 
of the Indians under the influence of 
the first Christian misskmaries, An- 
chieta tells us: **When they marry, 
they go to the wedding clothed, and 
in the afternoon they go out for a 
walk with only a bonnet on their 
heads, no other clothing, and they 
tíúnk that they are stepping out right 
gallantly.**— /nfonwjfõey e Fragmen- 
tos Históricos do Padre Joseph de 
Anchieta (op. cit.), p- 47- 
®8 Simão de Vasconcellos is one of 

the chroniclers who report these dis- 
eases: "There broke out suddenly 
something like a terrible plague of 
coughing and deadly catarrh in cer- 
tain houses of baptized Indians. . . •** 
^Chfámca da Companhia de Jesus 
dos Estados do BrasU {Cbromde of 
the Society of Jesus of the States if 
Brazil) (2nd edition, Rio de Janeiro, 
1864), p. 65.— W. D. Hambly at- 
tributes to irregularity in the use of 
clothing by the savage— which fre- 
quently happened in Brazil— the re- 
sponsibility for many of the diseases 
that decimated the primitive peoples 
when brought into contact with the 
dvilized.— Orfgmr of Education 
among Primitive Peoples (Lond<ni, 
1926).— Regarding the heakh and hy- 
giene of the first Indians enslaved by 
the colonists in Brazil, Theodoro 
Sampaio generalizes as follows: "The 
slaves were not healtl^. The setded 
life on the plantations was not good 
for them, and a large number of them 
died of pleurisy, hemorrhages, ca- 
tarrhal affections, and herpes, which 
were terrible in their effects and very 
frequent among them.**— "5. Patdo no 
Fim do Secido XVF ("São Paulo at 
the End of the Sixteenth Century"). 
Revista do Instituto Histórico de São 

Copyriyi kC j I , i luci lai 

The Native in the Brazilian Family 1 1 3 

clothing only when it is ready to fall off them from dirt and grime. 
Yet these are pec^les thaty in point of bodily cleanliness and even 
sexual morality are at times superior to those vmxoi Girisrian morality 
loads down with heavy raiment. 

As to cleanliness, the natives of Brazil were assuredly superior to 
those European Christians who arrived in the year 1500. Let us not 
forget that the latter, in this era, were in the habit of lauding St; 
Anthony, founder of the monastic life, for having denied himself 
the vamty of bathing his feet, while the praise given to St. Simeon 
Stylites was that his stench could have been smelled from af ar.^ And 
the Portuguese were not the most unclean of European peoples in the 
sixteenth century, as certain malicious ones, perhaps, would like to 
picture them. On the contrary, owing to the mfluence of the Moors, 
they were among the cleanest. 

Of the early chrcmide-writers, it is the Frenchmen, Ives d'Êvreux 
and Jean de Léry,** who are most astonished by the frequency with 
wfaidk file caboclos bathed. And a French hygienist, Sigaud, would 
attribute to their cold baths the fact that the aborigines of Brazil - 
already under the influence of European civilization -suffered from 
disorders of the respiratory tract, running all the way from simple 
catarrah to acute pleurisy and bronchitis.®^ Cold baths and the habit 
of going practically naked were blamed for this. But modem studies 
in hygiene show the contrary to be the case; they show that these 
diseases of the respirator^'- system are developed among savages 
through the imposition of European clothing and safeguards upon a 
people accustomed to utter nudity. 

The century of the discovery of America-the fifteenth— and the 
two centuries immediately following, marked by intensive coloniza- 
tion, were for all Europe an epoch marked by a great lowering of the 
standards of hygiene. At the beginning of the nineteenth century -so 
we learn from a German writer cited by Lowie- there were soli to 
be met with in Germany persons who in all their lifetime could not 
remember having taken a single bath.®^ The French in this respect 
were not superior to their neighbors. Quite the contrary. The author 
of Primitive Culture reminds us that the elegant queen Marguerite of 

**Westieniiardc: The Origin and age faict en la terre du BrésU (op. 

Development of the Moral Ideas (op. cit.). 

cit.). ^ »7 J. F. X. Sigaud: Du clivtat et des 

85 Ives d'Evreux: Voyages dans le 7mladies du Brésil (Paris, 1844). 

nord du Brésil (Leipzig and Paris, Robot H. Lowie: Are We CM- 

1864). Ua^f (New York and London, 1929). 
Jean de Léry : Histoire d^tm wfy- 

Copyrighted material 

114 The Masters and the SUfoes 

Navarre would go for an entire week without washing her hands; 
that when Louis XIV washed his, it was with a little perfumed 
alcohol, and then he merely sprinkled them; that a French etiquette 
manual of the seventeenth century advises the reader to bathe his 
hands and face once a day; while another manual of the century pre- 
ceding warns the young nobleman that he should not blow his nose 
with the hand that was holding a piece of meat; that in 1530 Erasmus 
thought it perfectly decent to blow his nose on the ground in this 
fashion, stepping upon the mucus with the sole of his shoe; and, 
finally, that a treatise of the year 1539 gives recipes for protection 
against lice, which were probably common throughout a large part 
of Europe.** 

In Europe, baths in the Roman manner and river baths— at times 
promiscuous ones, against which for long the voice of the Church 
had thundered in vain— had almost wholly ceased following the Cru- 
sades and the forming of more intimate commercial ties with the 
Orient. The European was liable to the contagion of syphilis and 
other transmissible and repugnant diseases; hence his fear of the bath 
and his horror of nudity.^** The first Portuguese and Frenchmen to 
arrive in this part of America, on the other hand, encountered a 
people that appeared to be without the marks of syphilis and whose 
greatest pleasure was bathing in the river. The naked aborigines 
washed themselves constantly from head to foot, by way of keejnng 
their bodies in a state of cleanliness, making use for àiis purpose of the 
leaves of trees as the more fastidious Europeans did of towels, in dry- 
ing their hands, and of pieces of dodi in bathing their young ones; 
and thev would go to the river to wash their soiled linen-that is, their 
cotton nammocks-a task with which the men were charged. 

Even diough they urinated within the ocas^ or huts, the Tupiis— 
Léry observes-'*. . . vont nSantmoms fart loin jme leurs excre" 
mensJ* It is from the Indians that the rural or semi-rural Brazilian 
appears to have acquired the habit of defecating at a distance from the 
house, usually in âie middle of a banana patdh near the river. And 
in the morning, before bathing. A swallow of rum with cashew nuts 
and occasionally the sign of die cross to safeguard the body ordinarily 
preceded this hygienic bath. The cashews to clear the blood-5tream< 
It was, in short, a whole liturgy or sanitary and prophylactic ritual 
that was thus performed. 

With the exception of washing the soiled hammocks, the Indian 
women were responsible for all the tasks having to do with domestic 

^ Lowie, op. cit. Ijéry^ op, dt^ VoL II, p. 91. 

100 William Graham Sumner: Folk- 
ways (Boston, 1906). 

Copyriyi iicu I : i ulCI lal 

The Native in the Brazilian Family 1 1 5 

hygiene, and th^ were even fonder of the bath and of bodily clean- 
liness than were the men. They were exceedingly dean, Gabriel 
Soares notes.*^ And this -the cunha' s greater fon(iiess for water and 
hygienic care of the body-according to Léry, is the explanation of 
the fact that the women adorned themselves less than did ^e men, 
a circu m s ta nc e that the chronicler notes **enire les chases doublemem 
estranges é vraimem esmerveUlables, que observêes en ces 
femmes brésiUennes," If we are to take the word of this scrapulous 
Protestant pastor (who shows himself to be possessed of a critical 
sense that is ont of the ordinary, throughout the whole of his travel 
narrative and especially in the opening pages, where, not without a 
certain theological odium, he- corrects the work of Friar André 
Thévet on Brazil) -if we are to take his word, die truth is that it was 
the women who offered the greater resistance when the Europeans at- 
tempted to impose upon them a garb that was supposed to be moral 
m effect but which to them was unhygienic: *^des robbes de frise & 
des chermsesJ* Their excuse was that so much clothing on the body 
rendered difficult their custom of bathing freely and frequently— at 
tinics almost hourly, ten or a dozen baths a day. Léry states that "í7 ri'a 
iamais este en nostre puissance de les faire vestir. . . . Elles disoyente 
que ce leur seroit trap de peine de se despouiller si souvcjjt. Ne voila 
pas une belle & bien pertinente reason?" Efforts to keep the cunhas 

^ Gahrid Soares de Sousa, op. dc. 

*®*Léry, op. cit., Vol. 1, p. 136.— 
Jean de Léry impresses me as being 
one of the two most dependable 
chroniclers who have written on sn- 
teenth-century Brazil. The other IS 
Gabriel Soares de Sousa, of whom 
Oliveira Lima is altogether right in 
saying: "The Bahian plantation- 
owner, as minute in his topographical 
as he is meticulous m his ethnographi- 
cal descriptions, may be looked upon 
as one of the safest guides to the 
study of rudimentary Tupi psychol- 
ogy. His mind is not beclouded with 
eiKchiske ]iro6e]3rtiziiig tendencies, as 
is die case with the fathers of the 
Society of Jesus— Simão de Vascon- 
cellos, for example— nor with the il- 
lusions of a romantic theology, as in 
the esse of the French Gapaddas of 
Maranhão, Oaude d' Abbeville and 
Ives d'EYKux.— Oliveka Lima: Ap- 

peetos da literatura Colonial Brasil' 
eira^ {Aspects of Colonial Brazilian 
Literature) (Leipzig, 1895).— As for 
Friar André Thévet, that is a differ- 
ent story. One should read his book— 
full of interesting observations — but 
as one reads a novel. It is the first 
book on Brazil in the French lan- 
guage: Les Singularitéz de la France 
antarctiquCj autre?nent norrtmée 
Amérique . , . par F. André Thévet. 
Thévst is the first of the earl^ chroii* 
iclers to concern himself, with some 
exactitude, with the cashew; his book 
has an engraving showing an Indian 
climbing a cashew tree and gather- 
ing nuts. He praises roast cashew 
nna: **Quit au noyau qtd est dedSt, U 
est tresbon à manger, ponrneii qii'il 
ait passé legereinent par le feu." Pro- 
fessor A. iVlétraux makes extensive use 
of Thévet in his nocaUe study of the 
rel^on of tíie Tupinambis, thus be- 
ginning the rehabuitation of the in- 

Copyrighted material 


The Masters and the Slaves 

clothed in the European manner were systematically frustrated by 
them in the early days; they might be obliged by the French Calvin- 
ists to go clad during the daytime, but at the first sign of nightfall, off 
would come their petticoats and chemises and they would scatter out 
along the the shore w ith delightful abandon. The Protestant pastor 
tells us that he saw them time and again in this state, concluding that 
the Indian women ^\jnant an naturely ne doivent rien cmx aiitrcs en 
bemtSJ*^ He further observes that "les attiflets, jards, faiisses perru- 
ques, cheveux tortillez, graiids collets fraisez, vertiigales^ robbes sur 
rohhes, é- aiitres infimes bagatelles dont les jeumies Ò- filies de par 
deçà se contrejont & ií(mt iavmis assez, so?Jt sa?js coinparaison cause 
de plus de 7mux que n^est la inidité ordinaire des jeimnes sauvages. 
. . There was something of a Havelock Ellis in the Reverend 
Jean de Léry. 

Thanks to certain of the old clironiclc-writers, we are acquainted 
with many of the intimate details of the day-to-day economic life of 
the aborigines; their sexual division of labor, for example, the work of 
the fields being almost wholly assigned to women, along with the 
care of the house. These facts we find set down with an exactness 
that has been confirmed by the latest researches of ethnologists. 
Writing of the Tupinambas, Gabriel Soares informs ns that it is the 
males who "are accustomed to plant the forest, and they also bum it 
over and clear the land"; it is diey who "go to look for wood with 
which to warm themselves, for they never sleep without a fire along- 
side their hammocks, which are their beds." This is not to mention the 
chief responsibility of the men, which was to furnish the taba, or 
Indian village, w ith meat and fish and to protect it against enemies 
and wild animals. 

There was, however, Léry tells us, no comparison between their 
labors and the way in which the women worked: *^car excepti 
quelques nuttmes ( S non m chaut du jour) quails coupent effertent 
du bois pour faire les jardins, ils [the men] ne font gueres autre chose 
qu*aUer à la guerre, à la chasse, à la pescherie fabriquer leurs espies de 
baiSy arcSy flecbeSy babillements dé pbtme, . . 

Gíabriel Soares, in faking of the activities of an mdostiial or 
artistic character that he encountered among the Tupinambás^ does 

genuous and at times fantastic French of rehabiUtation is being contínued by 

Capuchin, who, the truth is, with all Thc\ et's Portuguese language tnuil- 

his fanciful writing, has given us pas- later. Professor Estevão Pinto, 

sages that are indispensable by reason Léry, op. cit.. Vol. I, p. 139. 

of the information th^ contain and ^^Ibid., Vol. I, p. 125. 
the suggestions they oiier. This work 

Copyrighted material 

The Native in the BraziUa?! Fa?nily 1 1 7 

not specify the age or sex of those who participated in them; but the 
"palm-Ieaf hampers and other containers of the same material, made 
after their manner and for their use," and the "baskets made of twigs, 
which they call somburás,^^ and other plaited ones, like those of 
India matting"-these must have represented an art that was due to 
masculine initiative, but it was an activity in which both sexes and 
young and old ahke must have engaged. The chronicler goes on to 
mention, as being the exclusive work of women, the cotton-fiber 
hammocks and ''the ribbons like lacework, and some larger ones 
which they wear in their hair." He goes into further detail: "It is the 
ta^ of the older women to make the flour which is their sustenance, 
and they carry the manihot to the house on theh: backs. And there are 
many of the old women who are charged widi making day vessels by 
hand, as these are the jugs in which Ácy make their wines, and they 
make some of them big enough to hold as much as a couple of 
hogsheads, and it c in these and in other smaller ones that they 
ferment the wine they drink. These old women also make pots, 
drinking-cups, and kneading-bowls for their use, in which they bake 
the ilour, and others in which they store it or out of which they eat, 
all of them dyed in various colors. This pottery they bake in a hole 
that they make in the ground, with wood piled over it; and these 
Indian women hold and believe that if any other person than the one 
who has made it does the baking, the potters^ will burst while in the 
fire. The same old women also assist in making flour, which they do 
after their own fashion." 

It was also the women who planted the crops and who went to the 
spring for water; they prepared the food and looked after the young 
ones. It may be seen that the old woman was a person of no little 
importance among the aborigines, and the importance of the woman 
in general was verv' great. In this category a comparative study of art 
and industry among primitive peoples authorizes us to place the 
effeminate male or even the sexual invert, common in various Bra- 
zilian tribes. 

Hartt makes the point that the art of ceramics among the aborigines 
of Brazil must have evolved by woman's hand, and this observation 
of the North American scholar was later confirmed by his disciple, 
Herbert S. Smith, after the latter had observed the Cadiueus.^^ It has 

The sa?nburá was a basket made i**^ Gabriel Soares de Sousa, op. cit., 
of liana or taquara, the latter being a p. 320. 

tonrii-fibered, wild-growing cane le- ^ Herbot Smith, op. tku [The 
senrnling bamboo. (Translator.) Gadineiis aie a group of Guaicnm 

(Guaycurú) Indians in southern Mato 
Grosso and Paraguay. (Translator.)] 

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ii8 The Masters and the Slaves 

also been confirmed by the recent researches of Heloisa Alberto 
Torres, with regard to the ceramics of Alarajó.^^^ One thing that these 
studies render certain is that the manufacture of pottery among 
Brazihan natives came later, being preceded by weaving; since over a 
long period of time impermeable woven containers were used as 
vessels for holding liquids; and this must have been a masculine art. 

Artistic production that was exclusively or principally the work 
of men consisted in the making of bows and arrows, musical instru- 
ments, and certain ornaments for the body. In the building of the 
ocãf or hut, the man's labor was strenuous, as was the effort he put 
forth in rearing a stockade about the village, a means of defense that 
the Portuguese were later to adopt in protecting the plantation Big 
Houses from the attacks of enemies. It was the men, also, who made 
the canoes, fashioned out of a angle log, which likevnse were taken 
over by the early colonists» in theii hackiand raids.^^^ 

I have already stated, in the opening p^es of this chapter, that 
from the point of view of oiganized agrarian life, representing the 
stabilization of the Portugaese colonist in Brazil, the social and eco- 
nomic utility of the native woman was greater than that of the man. 
The latter almost wholly evaded the efforts of the colonizers, and 
even the wiles of the priests, designed to make him a part of the new 
technique of economic exploitation and the new regime of social life. 
The woman achieved a much better adjustment; a fact that is under- 
standable in view of her technical superiority among primitive peo- 
ples and the greater tendency to stability that she manifested among 
the nomad ttibes. Whatever the demands that were made of her in 
connection with the formation of Brazilian sodety-that of her body, 
which she was the first to offer to the white man; that of her domestic 
and even her agricultural labor; diat of stability (a state for which she 
longed, seeing that her menfolk were still at war with the invader, 
while she was left to wander ahnlessly, a pack on her head and an 
infant at her bosom or straddling her hips) -whatever the demands, 
the cunbã gave an excellent account of herself. 

Among her people the Indian woman was the principal element of 
economic and technical worth. There was a bit of the beast of burden 
in her, and a bit of die slave to man. But she was superior to the latter 
in her capacity for making use of things and producing the necessities 
for communal life and comfort. Polygamy, among die savages who 
practiced it-including those who inlubited Brazil-was not merely 

Heloisa Alberto Torres: "Cer^- The author employs the English 

f/iica de Marajó" (lecture) (Rio de Ja- word, raids. (Translator.) 
neiro, 1929). 


The Native i?i the Brazilian Family 1 19 

a fulfillment of sexual desire, so difficult to satisfy in the male who 
possesses but a single wife; it reflected also the economic interests of 
the hunter, fishemian, warrior, as he sought to surround himself with 
those living, creative economic values which women represented. 

Thomas tells us that among primitive peoples the man is the active, 
violent, ^radic element, while woman is the stable, substantial, con- 
tinuous one.^ This antagonism is rooted in the physical consdturion 
of the woman, which a<&pts her to resistance rather than to move- 
ment. To agriculture and industry rather than to hunting and war. 
Hence it is thf t we almost alwa3rs find agricultural and industrial 
acdvity developing through the woman, as well as the technique diat 
is proper to the hiòitation, the house; and she is also in ^ood part re- 
sponsible for die domesticadon of animals. Even magic and art, if 
diey do not develop chiefly durough her, are evolved by the effeminate 
or bisexual male, who prefers the regular and domesdc life of the 
woman to that of movement and warfare which the man leads. The 
natives of Brazil at the time of the discovery were still in the stage of 
relative male parasitism, with a consequent overburdening of the 
female. In was the cunhffs creative hands that were responsible for 
the regular performance of the principal tasks that had to do with 
art, industry, and the tilling of the soil. 

As to the pajés, or medicine-men, it is probable that they were of 
that effeminate or invert type that was respected and feared by most 
of the American aborigines, instead of being despised and abhorred.*" 
In some cases the effeminacy was due to advanced age, which tends 
to make certain women more masculine and certain men more femi- 
nine; but in other cases perhaps it was due to congenital or acquired 
perversion. In any event, the fact of the matter is that these bisexual 
individuals, or individuals bisexualized by age, held in their hands the 
powers and functions of mystics, healers, pajés, and counselors among 
the various American tribes. 

The institution of com ade itself, a cultural complex so charac- 
teristic of the Brazilian aborigines, is a case in point: one might ven- 
ture to interpret it by the criterion of biscxuality. Inasmuch as the 
custom is found among those peoples who do not despise or ridicule 
effeminates, but who in general respect them as beings endowed with 
extraordinary powers and virtues, it is possible that couvade arose 
from sexually differentiated beings: individuals of great influence and 
with a mystic power of suggestion over the majority. Wissler ob- 
serves that certain cultural traits, even though but rarely, may be in- 

Thomas, op. dt 

Westennarck: The Origm md Development cf the Moral Ideas (op. dt). 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

corporated into the general practice of a tribe or a group through the 
influence of exceptional individuals who initiate them/*'' It is known 
that the invert is one in search of creative and painful activities such 
as will make up to liim for the impossibility of femininity and mater- 
nity: masochism, flagellation, and the arts of sculpture, painting, cal- 
ligraphy, and music among the monks of the Middle Ages; the same 
masochism among the fakirs of India; and according to Silbcrer, in his 
work The Problems of Mysticiwi and Synibolimi, even alchemy 
represented a desire of compensation on the part of certain individuals 
of an introvert type.^^* It is known that in certain diseases, such as 
tuberculosis and constipation, some introverts appear to ând pleasure 
or compensation."^ 

All these are suggestions that, diough they may not be sufficient to 
carry conviction, perhaps constitute a basis for a possible sexual in- 
terpretation of couvade through the criterion of bisexuality. There 
would seem, indeed, to be present in couvade much of that desire 
which Faithful notes in the introvert of achieving, through an identi- 
fication with the woman, the joys of maternity ("to obtain by identi- 
fication with their mates the joy of motherhood")."^ The efieminates, 

IMWissler: Man and Culture (op. 

Theodore Faidifol: Bisexualky 

(London, 1927). 

Modern scientists believe that 
certain psychic forms of tuberculosis 
and constipation are the means by 
which die mtrovert compensates him- 
self for the impossibility of satisiymg 
his sexual desires in a feminine man- 
ner. Writing on this subject, in his 
essay referred to above, Theodore 
Faithfol says: '^Consumptíon is a 
ready means of satisfaction to an in- 
trovert who cannot use the libido in 
artistic or mental creative work, and 
who cither has not a womb to use, 
or if possessed of one does not wish 
to use it, or whose desiies in that di- 
rection are inhibited by atcadmients 
to relatives or economic nccessiry-." 
And, still referring to the means by 
which an introvert finds compensa- 
tion for the imposrability of a femi- 
nine sexual expression: *X3ironic oon^ 
stipation is one of these ways, and is 
used to satisfy introverted or female 
desires. ... In introverted men also 

it gives a satisfaction to the psyche 
unobtainable by the use of their re- 
productive apparatus. . . . The ab- 
normal laving on of abdominal fat is 
another means of physical satisfaction 
to introverted men who are unable 
to use up the libido in creative 
work, and in unmarried extroverted 

Couvade places the man in the 
position of receiving, as a "patient," 
attentions that would otherwise be 
bestowed upon the woman, and in 
this manner he effects an identifica- 
tion through the special precautions 
and care with which he is surrounded: 
"the husband remains lying in the 
hammock, where he is well covered 
... in which place he is visited by 
his relatives and friends, and they 
bring him presents of food and drink, 
and the woman shows him many en- 
dearments. . . ,**— Gabriel Soares de 
Sousa: Roteiro do Brasil (op. cit.).— 
R. R. SchuUer explains couvade by 
"paternal egoism, accompanied by a 
considerable amount of rivalry with 
the one who bears the child.'* "A 

CopviiyikCJ 1 1 i UlCI lal 

The Native in the Brazilian Family 121 

by their prestige deri\ing from the practices of sexual magic— an 
activity that was controlled by them in a number of tribes— would 
thus have been the initiators of couvade, a cultural complex in which 
there are so many evidences of that mechanism of compensation of 
which the invert makes use: repose, precautions, diet, identification of 
man with woman. For in couvade it was generally the two of them, 

Comade^ Boletim do Museu Goeldi, 
VoL VI (1910). This e]q)hiiatioa 
vaguely and distantly approximates 

the suggestion made here. Sociologi- 
cally, couvade perhaps represents the 
first step toward recognizing the bi- 
ological importance of the father in 
generation. It is necessary to take into 
consideration the fact that rarely in 
the mind of the savage is there an 
essential connection between sexual 
intercourse and conception. The no- 
tion of paternity or maternity, a no- 
tion that is sociok^cal rather than 
biological in character, by means of 
which family descent is established 
among primitive peoples, corresponds 
in general to a vague and approximate 
awareness of the interference of one 
or the other sex in the generative 
process. Among the various tribes of 
Brazil the belief was prevalent that 
the first-born came from the interfer- 
ence of a demon known as *Suttáaraí* 
with— and this is highly significant to 
a Freudian— the form of a fish, the 
boto, which is looked upon as the 
tutelary spirit of the other fishes.— 
Couto de Magalhães: O Selvagem 
{The Savage) (Rio de Janeiro, 1876). 
<—It would seem, however, that the 
more general notion at the time of the 
discovery was the one referred to by 
Anchieta, to the effect that the belly 
of die woman was a bag in which the 
roan deposited the embryo. A notion 
more advanced than the other.— Von 
den Steinen (op. cit.), in carrying 
further his study of couvade, came 
upon the belief among the natives of 
central Brazil that it was the man who 
left the egg or eggs in the woman*s 
belly and who incubated them durii^ 

the period of pregnancy. The egg or 
ovum is identified widi the father, to 
such a degree that the word for eg|f 

and the word father in the Bakairi 
tongue have the same derivation. The 
child is looked upon as being no more 
than a miniatore who dev(£>ps in his 
mother's belly merely as the seed does 
in the earth. Hence the belief among 
savages that evils affecting the father 
may, tlirough sympathetic magic, af- 
fect the newborn child as well. This 
eiqalains why it is tliat both father 
and mother, or the father alone, are 
commonly safeguarded. On this sub- 
ject, in addition to the works men- 
tioned by Schuller in the paper re- 
ferred to above, and others previously 
cited— especially the one by von den 
Steinen— see the recent studies of 
Rafael Karstcn, who, in his Civiliza- 
tion of the South A77ierican Indians 
(New York, 1920), devotes one of his 
best chapters to couvade; see also 
Walter £. Roth*s "An Inquiry into 
the Animism and the Folklore of the 
Guiana Indians," 13th Annual Report^ 
Bureau of American Ethnology 
(Washington, 191 5). In addition, see 
H. Ring Loth; *^Oa. the Significance 
of the Couvade,** Journal of the An- 
thropological Institute of England and 
Ireland, Vol. XXII (1923). "The so- 
ciological problem it involves can 
hardly be said to have been com- 
pletely solved," says Karsten in speak- 
mg of couvade. 

[The fish-demon referred to above, 
the boto, is a cetacean of the dolphin 
family (Stena tucuxi) which the Am- 
azon Indians tielieve to be endianced. 

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122 The Masters and the Slaves 

the man and the woman, and not, as is commonly thought, the man 
alone who took the precautions and followed the diet. 

Goldenweiser from the anthropological, Westermarck from the 
sociological, and Faithful from the sexological point of view stress the 
fact that homosexuals or bisexuals not infrequently hold a position of 
command or influence in primitive societies, a fact that R. Lowe 
Thompson permits himself to interpret with a boldness that perhaps 
pure science would not authorize.^^® In his study Intermediate Types 
among Primiihe Men Carpenter similarly goes to the extreme of sug- 
gesting that many of the most important differentiations of social life 
may luve come from variations of a sexual nature; and he goes on to 
observe that among primitive peoples culture may have been enriched 
and activities diflFerentiated as a result of homosexuality or bisexuality. 
The homosexuals and bisexuals would thereby have fulfilled a valu- 
able creative function by laying the bases of the sciences, arts, and 
reli^ons. They would have been the prophets, the seers, the healers^ 
the physicians, the priests, and the plastic artists.^® 

This is a theory that perhaps attributes too much importance, in 
the development of science, religion, and art, to the errati^ the exotic, 
the romantic, while undervaluing an element that, though unob- 
trusive, is none the less active and creative: the good sense of the 
extroverts. Not the ''common sense" of every day, but that which is 
nothing other than equilibrium, intellectual and physical health; die 
good sense of a Rabelais, a Dr. Johnson, a Cervantes, that of which 
Marett speaks, identifying it widi the experience and the tradition of 
the majority; a foDdoric sense that comes from the people; that of 
mature nations such as France and of great and ancient churches like 

"Numerous reports attest the 
piesence in various tribes of effemi- 
nate men who avoid male occupations 
and disregard masculine attire; they 
dress as women and participate in 
feminine activities. Not infrequently 
sucli men function as magicians and 
seers." Alexander Goldeoweiser, in 
Sex and Civilizatíony edited by Cal- 
verton and Schmalhansfen (Loodoo, 

As Thompson sees it, effeminate 
men, 'though they may have a poor 
physique, a less stable mentalhy and 

no great love for manly sports or 

warlike exercises, often have, by rea- 
son of their bisexual outlook^ a stereo- 
scopic view of life, a quick intelli- 

gence, cuarúagt tenacity, patience, 
and a power of u pp ort uu e a<umcatioii, 
together with a strong desire for self- 
expression. In fact, they often have an 
unusually large amount of emulation 
and emotional energy, which cannot, 
of course, be expressed in mother- 
hood and may not find an adequate 
outlook In paternity, sfaioe thdr 
proper sexual impulses are apt to be 
weak or confused or restrained by 
various conventions. They are, in- 
deed, lustful rather than lusty fcl> 
lows.'*— R. Lowe Thompson: Tbe 
History of the Devil (London, 1929). 
Carpenter, in Goldenweiser, op. 


The Native in the Brazilian Family 123 

the Roman (which, incidentally, has not hesitated to enridi itself 
^iritoally at the expense of introverts, like St. Theresa, who were all 
but delinous). 

There are, as I have said, numerous evidences of homosezuaJky ^ 
among the primitive societies of America; and Westermarck suggests 
that the warlike rh3rthm of these societies perhaps favored sexual in- 
tercourse between man and man, and even between women. The 
secret societies of the men, in that sexual and social phase of culture 
through which many of the Amerindian tribes were passing at the time 
of the discovery, were possibly an expression, or rather an assertion, 
of the prestige of the male over the female, of a patronymic as against 
a matronymic regime, and as such, it may be, were a greater stimulus 
to pederasty dum was the life of a warrior. In connection with the 
Baitos, a kind of Masonic lodge among the aborigines that was open 
only to men after a severe initiation, von den Steinen found Bororó 
youths engaging in sexual intercourse with one another, and this 
without any sense of guilt, but quite naturally. 

As far back as the sixteenth century Gabriel Soares was hmified at 
seeing the Tupinambás ''greatly addicted to the unspeakable sin, 
which they do not look upon as being a disgrace; he who takes the 
male's part is held to be a brave, and they regard this kind of bestiality 
as prowess; and in their villages there are certain of them that keep 
public shop for tliose that wish to make use of them as public 
women." i« 

It is impossible to determine the extent to which homosexuality 
in America was due to congenital perversion; for the truth is that, 
among the Amerindians, pederasty was not practiced because the 
men were deprived of women or because women were scarce. A more 
potent social influence was the segregation of the youths in houses 
restricted to males. 

At the end of the sixteenth century a number of natives and 
mamelucos appeared before the visitor of the Holy Office, charged 
with the crime of sodomy.^'^ These were individuals who were only 

iiO*rhe author's word here, in the 
original, is bamanàxia» (Tnuislatoir.) 

^ Gabriel Soares de Sousa, op. dt., 
p. 113. 

^Homofnixia. (Translator.) 

Among other cases was that of 
the Indian, Luiz, a "sodomite who 
conunits the unspeakable sin, playing 
a passive part and taking the place of 
tbe woman, the said one oeiijig a 

youth around eighteen years of age." 
—First Visitathn iff tbe Holy Office 
to tbe Reports of BrasH^-Denuncia- 
Hons of BtÚ3Ía—is9i-is9s (São Paulo, 
1925), p. 458.— There was also the 
Indian Acahuy, against whom Fran- 
cisco Barbosa lodged a deposition to 
the e£Fect that he had seen him com- 
mitting the "unspeakable sin** with 
one Balthazar de Lomba, **die two of 

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1 24 The Masters and the Slaves 

half-Christianized, and whose CathoHcism was still in the crude stage. 
The Church was in the habit of fulminating against this sin as being 
one of those from the lower depths-one of the four claviantia peccata 
of medieval theology but in the sexual morality of these primitive 
peoples, those savages whom Father Cardim heard confessing them- 
selves with so much candor, it was nothing more than a peccadillo. 
It seems, meanwhile, that the Portuguese quickly identified the abo- 
rigines M ith the practice of pederasty, a practice that to Christians 
was 50 abominable a one. 

The term bugre, bestowed by the Portuguese upon the Brazilian 
natives in general and upon a São Paulo tribe in particular, possibly 
expressed the theological horror felt by Christians w'ho had just 
emerged from the Middle Ages when brought face to face with the 
unspeakable sin which for them was associated with a great, indeed 
with the maximum degree of unbelief and heresy. Just as for the 
Hebrews the term gentile carried the implication of sodounte, so for 
the medieval Christian the term bugre was imbued with the same 
clinging connotation of unclean sin. He who was a heretic was ac- 
cordingly held to be a sodomite, as if one danmable offense inevitably 
brought with it the other. ''Indeed so closely was sodomy associated 
with heresy that the same name was applied to both," writes Wester- 
marck. And he adds: "the French bougre (from the Latin Bulgarus, 
Bulgarian), as also its English synonym, was originally a name given 
to a sect of heretics who came from Bulgaria in die eleventh century, 
and was afterwards applied to other heretics, but at the same time it 
became the regular expression for a person guilty of unnatural inter- 
course." ^ And in connection with this subject we find in Léry a 
passage worthy of note; referring to the Tupis, the chronicler says: 
"tautefais, â fin dene les faire pas asH plus gens de bien qfiik ne santy 
parce que quelquefais en se despkans Tun eantre V autre, ils s*appettent 
^Tywre, one pern de là conseeturer (car ie rien afferme rien) que 
cest abominable pesché se commet entr^eux/* ^ 

diem being in a hammock, and I heard 
the hammock creaking and heard 

them panting as if they were engaged 
in the unspeakable work, and I heard 
from the said Negro words of en- 
dearment in dieir tongue."— Firrt 

Visitation of the Holy Office to the 
Regions of Brazil— De7mnciations of 
Per72ir/«^7/co— 1593-1595 (São Paulo, 

1929)» P- 399- 
i^St. Thomas Aquinas: Swmm 

Theologica; and before him the Apos- 
tle Paul, in his First Epistle to the 
Corinthians (vi, 9, 10): "nor effemi- 
nate, nor abusers of themselves with 
mankind . . . shall . . . inherit the 
kingdom of God.** 

Westermarck: The Origin and 
Development of the Moral Ideas (op* 

12c Léry, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 87. 

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The Native m the Brazilian Family 1 2 5 

From the accounts given us by Léry, Gabriel Soares, and Hans 
Staden, the chronicles of the sixteenth-century Jesuits, and the books 
of Ives d'Evreux and Claude d'Abbeville, it may be seen that for the 
Tupi woman married life was one continuous round of toil; she was 
constantly concerned with her children, \\ 1th her husband, with the 
kitchen, and with her small plantations. This is not to mention such 
domestic duties as die supplying of' water and the carrying of burdens. 
Even when pr^^nant; the Indmn woman was active both within and 
outside the house, merely ceaàng to bear upon her back burdens that 
were excessively heavy.^ As a mother she added to her many func- 
tions that of becoming a sort of ambulating cradle for her child,^ 
which she sometimes nourished at her breast until it was seven years 
old; she also had to bathe it and to teadi the little girls to spin cotton 
and prepare the meals. 

In short; as Léry tells us, she was charged with die management of 
the entire household: ^touie la charge du mesnage.^^ ^ The utensils 
that served for cooking die food, for storing it, for pounding the 
com or the fish, for smoking the meat, pressing roots, sifting Hour— 
the earthenware vessels, the wickerwork sieves, the gourd cups, the 
gourd drinking-vessels, the brooms— all these, many of which were to 
become a permanent part of the colonial kitchen, were the work of 
her hands. To this day, amidst the crockery in any Brazilian house 
in the northern or central part of the country, w ill be found numerous 
items of purely indigenous origin or manufacture. No kitchen that 
prides itself on being truly Brazilian is lacking in a wicker sieve, a 
mortar, an earthen jar or water- jug. The ctinhas not only gave a 
beautiful form to some of these household utensils, made of clay, of 
wood, or of animal or fruit shells— the grater being made of oyster 
shells -but also enlivened them with colored designs: "y//i//e petites 
gentillesses,^^ as Léry puts itP^ 

Of the dishes prepared by the Indian woman the principal ones 
were those mnde from manihot dough or flour. Gabriel Soares snw the 
natives in the year 1 500 scraping the manihot roots until they were 
gleaming white: "after having washed them, they scrape them with 
a stone or grater that they have for this purpose; and after [the roots] 

127 Ibid. 

The cradle of the aborigines in 
this part of America appears to have 
been the tipáky or band of doth that 
held the child on the mother's back, 
and the small hammock. On the cTft- 

m gen- 

eral, see O. T. Mason: "Cradles of the 
American Aborigines," Report of the 
Ufttted States National Museum 

i2« Léry, op. cit., Vd. II, p. 98. 

^Ibid., VoLU,p.99. 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

are thoroughly scraped, they press the pulp in a palm-leaf contrivance 
to which they give the name of tapitmi, which causes the water to 
gush forth, leaving the dried pulp behind, out of which they make 
the flour that they eat, which they cook in an earthen vessel made for 
this purpose, casting the pulp into the said vessel and heating it over 
a fire, where an Indian woman stirs it with a half-gourd, as one does 
when making comfits, until it is quite dry and without any moisture 
whatsoever, whereupon it remains like couscous, but whiter, and in 
this manner it is eaten, and very sweet and savory it is." 

Manihot flour was adopted by the colonists in place of wheat bread, 
the rural proprietors preferring it fresh-baked every day, "And," says 
Gabriel Soares, "1 still say that manihot is more wholesome and bett^ 
for you than good wheat, for the reason that it is more easily digested, 
and in proof of this I would cite the fact that the governors Thome 
de Sousa, D. Duarte, and Mem de Sá did not eat wheat bread in Brazil 
because they found that it did not agree with them, and many other 
persons did the same." 

Thanks to the native preference, the victory of manihot was com- 
plete and it, instead of wheat, became the basis of the colonists' diet 
(although, contrary to what Gabriel Soares naively supposes, it can- 
not compare with wheat in nutritive value and digestibility). Today 
manihot is the basic food of Brazilians, and for a good part of our 
population the technique of its manufacture remains what it was for 
the aborigines. In the far north, flour made by a process of watering 
is preferred, and the manner in which it is prepared by the caboclos 
is thus described by H. C. de Sousa Araujo: "After the process of 
maceration is complete and the manihot has shed its rind, it is then 
carried away in water-troughs, where it remains for a number of days. 
When it is ^uite soft, it is crushed or prated and the dough is placed 
in long corneal tipitis^ made of platted embira^ or taquara-cane 
fiber. These tipitis are a yard and a half to two yards or so in length 
and, after they have been well filled, are suspended from the ridge- 
pole of the house, bdng weighted down at die bottom by a large 
stone. When the manihot water, known as tucupi, stops running, they 
draw off the starchy mass and spread it out in the sun to (hy, an 
operation that ends with drying in the oven. The result is always a 
coarse fiour made up of litde hard round lumps that are hard to 

Gabriel Soares de Sousa, op. cit, ^Embira is a term applied to a 

p. 164. p jyo. number of Brazilian plants with fi- 

Cf. the "íjpiíwz" mentioned by brous bark of which ropes are made. 

Gabriel Soares de Sousa above. (Translator.) 

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The Native in the Brazilian Family 1 2 7 

masticate." In the northeast the flour commonly manufacuired is 
the dry variety, formerly known as ^^de giierra^^ (wartime meal); but 
in this region as in the far north the tipití-ih^z "tubular elastic basket 
made of pakn leaves»** as Theodoro Sampaio defines it continues 
to characterize the technique of fiour-mddng. 

Manihot was put to varied uses by the aborigines in didr cooking, 
and many of the pastries and other dishes formerly prepared from jut 
by the red-skiimed hands of the cimhà are today die work of white, 
mulatto, black, and brown hands belonging to the Brazilian woman 
of widely varying origin and blood-streams. From the Indian woman 
die latter learned to make a series of delicate conf ecrions. Out of fine 
flour she made for die children die cake known as canrni. Out of 
manihot; also, she made the paste known as mingau and the pastries 
called mbeiu or beijú. "They were familiar," writes Couto dc 
Magalhães, in speaking of the natives of Brazil, "with processes of 
fermentation by which they prepared excellent preserves that were 
very good for weak stomachs; among others, I will mention the 
''carrtm! cakes upon which almost all of us were nourished during our 

In connection with the hei];ã, Araujo Lima cites a number of 
modem Amazonian specialties. In addition to the ordinary hetp,^ 
known to every Brazilian by that name, or by the name of tapioca 
—"a cake made of fresh dough, still damp, or of tapioca flour run 
through a wicker sieve in such a manner as to form lumps that, due 
to the action of the heat, remain clinging together by reason of the 
gluten that is in the dough"— in addition to this, there is the beliú- 
açú,^'^^ "rounded in form, made of the same dough as the heijú- 
ticangaj^^^ and baked in the oven"; there is the beijú-cicãj "made of 
macaxeira^ or sweet cassava dough, in very fine lumps"; there is the 
tapioca cake, "made of moist tapioca, in such a manner that it drops 
from the sieve in tiny lumps and, when ready, is folded over on itself 
and buttered"; there is the beijú-ticanga^ "made of soft manihot 
dough (ticanga) dried in the sun"; there is the caribé, which is "the 
beijú-açú put to soak and reduced to a doughy paste, to which more 

iWH. C. de Sousa Araujo: ''Cos- 
tumes fãfâemef* (**Customs of 
Pari**), BoUtim Samtirio, mo 2, no. 
5 (Rio de Janeiro, 1924). 

136 O Tupi na Geografia Nacional 
(op. cit.). 

Couto de Magalhães: O SelvO' 
gem (op. cit.). 

^Thc tapioca of oommeice is de- 

rived from two species of the genus 
Manihot: the M. utUissima, or bitter 
cassava; and the M, Aipi, or sweet 

cassava. (Translator.) 

Lima and Barroso (Pequeno Di- 
cionário y etc.) give the spelling guaçu 
for this variety of beijú. (Translator.) 

^^Lima and Barroso: ticumga. 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

water, lukewarm or cold, is added, forming a sort of in'w^au^ more 
or less thin according to taste," a vi'mgmi that is taken in the morning 
with lukewarm water and during the day with cold water; and, 
finally, there is the curada, a large and rather thick beijú, made of 
moist tapioca, with larger lumps than the rolled cake and containing 
small bits of raw cashew nuts." All this is Indian food that has been 
adopted by the Brazihan of the far north. 

Not only with respect to the beijú cake but as regards native food 
in general, the Amazon region is the Brazilian cultural area that is 
most saturated with caboclo influence. It is as if the tang of the forest 
had been preserved here; it is wrapped up in the leaf of the palm 
and the banana tree; it is in the cashew nut, the clay drinking-cup, 
the powdered puganga made from toasted kurumikáa leaves. The 
very names are Indian names. All this may seem strange at first, but 
only at first; for these native delicacies and the names they bear have 
the familiarity of old acquaintance in the mouth of the Brazihan, a 
ch*cumstance that does away with any impression of the exotic— it is 
then that we realize how much that is baacally of the forest remains 
with us, in the tastes of our palate and in the rhythm of our daily 
speech; it is then that we realize how much we owe to our Tupi and 
Tapuia ancestors. 

The national cuisine-let it be said in passing— would have remained 
impoverished and its individuality would have been profoundly af- 
fected if these delicacies of native origin had not survived; for dicy 
give a flavor to the Brazilian diet that neither Lusitanian dishes nor 
African cookery could supply. But it should be noted diat it was in 
the kitchens of the Big Houses that many of these confections lost 
their regional and exclusively Indian character to become truly Bra- 

In die far north they still make out of soft manihot doug^ a native 
cake caUed macapatã. ''After [die dough] has been preyed in the 
<ipi>iV' 80 Araujo Lima teUs us, "and kneaded with turde fat and bits 
of raw cashew nuts, it is flattened out in small oblong pordons and 
wrapped in banana leaves, to be baked in the embers." They also make 
a dnnk known as tarubâ, out of beifús that, after thw have been 
dipped in water barely enough to moisten them, are laid one by one 
over cunmii (kurumikáa) leaves upon "a bed of banana leaves spread 

Araujo Lima, op. dt. Tapma (Tapuya) is employed 

The puçanga was a remedy pre- as a generic term for Bnudlian Indian, 

pared by the Indian pajésy or medi- commonly referring to a linguistic 

cine-men; it comes to be a term for stock. Cf. caboclo. (Translator.) 
household remedy. (Translator.) 

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The Native in the Brazilian Family 1 29 

out in a special rack constructed in the flour-hotise or in the 
kitchen," after which they are powdered with puçangãy and curumi 
leaves are spread over them. All the bei^ are thus covered with the 
leaves of the curumi or the banana tree, and they let the cakes lie 
there for three days— when a kind of syrup begins to run. They there- 
upon dissolve the entire doughy mass in water, run it through the 
ivicker sieve, and let it settle. The result is a delicious beverage that, 
taken to escess, is inebriating. This is the sweet-perfiimed drink called 

The frequent use of the leaf of the São Tomé banana tree in the 
northeast for wrapping food-preparations made from the coconut; 
manihot, rice, and com may possibly be the result of African in- 
trusion, a conts^ous efiFect of the Negro complex for the banana 
plant. It is true that the aborigines did not lack a variety of banana 
(the caaguaçú, or pacova sororoca), but it is doubtful if the com- 
plex we have just mentioned attained with them the degree of de- 
velopment that it did with the Africans, who made an extensive use 
of the banana and its leaves. 

In coconut tapioca, known as "dipped" {molhada) —s^Tt^à out 
upon an African banana leaf, powdered with cinnamon, and seasoned 
with salt— is to be perceived the truly Brazilian amalgam of culinary 
traditions: native manihot, the Asiatic coconut, European salt, all 
fraternizing in a single and delicious confection upon the same African 
bed of banana leaves. It is my opinion that the northeast— that is to 
say, the zone of Pernambucan influence— and, farther to the north, 
Maranhão are the two points of most intense cultural fraternization, 
a fraternization that is materialized in the regional cuisine and that 
finds subtle expression in other spheres where its discovery or dif- 
ferentiation through studies in social psychology, ethnography, folk- 
lore, and sociology is rendered more difhcult. 

Maçoca, of which various cakes in addition to caribé are made, is 
not restricted to the Amazon region, but may be said to be in general 
use in northern and central Brazil, although not to so great an extent 
as ?mngaii, Indian-corn caiijica,^^*' and inoqueca}^"^ These last were 
incorporated into the national diet of Brazilians after what might be 
termed original or crude products such as the yam, maize, the potato. 

The g/Vi(? or j/ViT?/. (Translator.) Ion selloiviammi Kth.). (Translator.) 

Pacova {pacoba) is the term for "'^See note 148 below. (Traosla- 

banana in northern Brazil; in the tor.) 

south it & applied to a variety of ^''See die descripdon bdov and 

large banana. The caaguaçú is a plane note 166. (Txandator.) 
of the EriocaulacM nuniiy {Ericmh 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

cacao, the peanut, and manihot. Maçoca is manihot dough run through 
the tipiti; after it has been well pulverized in the pestle and dried in 
the sun, it is placed in a hamper and is suspended at a certain height 
above the fire in order to keep it free of moisture. 

Out of maize, in addition to flour (abatiui), now used in the mak- 
ing of various cakes, the cunhas prepared: acanijiCy which today, un- 
der the name of canjicaj^'^^ has become one of the great national dishes 
of Brazil; pcrnmna^ now known as painonha a cake that, after be- 
ing prepared, is wrapped in a com leaf; popcorn, a term that, accord- 
ing to Theodoro Sampaio, means "cracked epidermis"; and, finally, a 
fermented drink, the ãbaú-i. 

Out of fish or meat, pounded and mixed with flour, they made: 
paçoka (paçoca),^^ a dish that is still to be found in the north; and 
piracuty^^^ or "fish gravel" (areia do peixe)^ the fish being dressed by 
hand and then, after the scales have been removed, toasted in the oven, 
pounded, and breaded But the most characteristic way of preparing 
fish, flesh, or fowl among die cunbSs was in the form of mokaen, 
which has come down to us under the name of moquem ^^^—tliat is to 
say, with the fish or meat being roasted over the coals, "or upon a 
wooden gridiron," as Theodoro Sampaio informs us,** 

As in the case of manihot, so with fish: it is the Amazonian cultural 
region of Brazil that has come the nearest to preserving the traditions 
of the aborigines. In the Amazon cuisine the pirarucu occupies a 
most important place, second onty to that of the turtle, which con- 

148 "Paste made of grated green 
com to which is added sugar, coco- 
nut milk, and cinnamon."— Lima and 
Bonoso: 'Bequeno DichnâriOt etc. 
**The pulp of green com cooked with 
sugar, tatt, aiid cmnamon to make ft 
dish invariably prepared at Christmas 
time and for St. Joao's Day."— G/oj- 
sary of Brazilian-Antazoman Terfns, 
Compiled from the Stratepe Index of 
the Americas (Coordinator of Inter- 
American Af^iis, 1943 )> (Tianab^ 

M» ]smá of cake made of green 
com, cooomit milk, batter, cinfumoa, 
anise, and sugar, ooobsd in tubes 
made of com leaves fastened at the 

extremities."— Lima and Barroso: Pe- 
queno Dicionário y etc. (Translator.) 

^ "Cashew-nuc kernels roasted and 
pounded in the pestle with flour- 

water and sugar, the whole being re- 
duced to smaU gtains."-.Lima and 
Barroso, op. cit. 

^ "A flour made from dried fish- 
especially, the piramcá and tambaqui 
—which have been ground with m 
mortar and pestle; it keeps for a long 
time and hence is a favorite food for 
fishermen, hunters, and travellers.'*— 
Qlottory of BrmUiãn-Amagommt 
Termsy Strategic Index of the Amer* 
teas. (Translator.) 

152 "Gridiron made of twigs, for 
roasting or drying meat or fish."— 
Lima and Barroso, op tit* 

^ Theodoro Sampaio, op. cit. 
'Tirarticú: (Spanish paiche)^9, 
very large Amazonian fish (Arapaima 
Pg^) of the family Osteoglossids." 
— Glossary of Brazilian-Amazoman 
Terms (op cit.). (Trandator.) 


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The Native in the Brazilian Fa?mly 1 3 1 

stitutes a culinary- complex in itself. Among the rural populations of 
the far north, the pirarucu at times takes the place of cod£sh or jerked 
beef: "it is put up in the form of preserves, being scxnedmes merely 
salted down in brine, when it is to be used within the next few days, 
or, when it is desh^d to keep it longer for export purposes, it is salted 
and spread out on blankets m the sun to dry." Other fish much in use 
in the Amazon region are the tucunaré^*^ and the tambaqui.^ The 
latter is employed in the characteristically native mode of preserving 
known as mxiriaJ'^ Mixkia, however, is not limited to fish alone, but 
may also be applied to meat; it consists in roasting the fish or meat in 
its own fat over a slow fire, after which it is sliced. Thus prepared, 
the meat, game, or fish, with its fat, is sealed in jars. Formerly, among 
the aborigines, these were earthenware jars. Today, Araujo Lima 
tells us, the containers employed are cylindrical tins. In this process 
of preserving, use is made of me pdze-bcu,^ the turtle, the tambaqui, 
the tapir, etc."* 

There is, by the way, a native mode of preparing fish that has be- 
come general in Brazil: pokeka, "which by corruption becomes 

moqueca^^ according to Theodoro Sampaio in his Brazilian geo- 
graphical vocabulary —"and it means a bundle," he adds, the fish being 
bundled up in leaves. Moqueca is fish roasted on the coals and wholly 
wrapped up in a banana leaf, like a tiny infant in its swaddling- 
clothes. The moqueca that is most appreciated is made of young fish, 
still transparent and very small: a baby fish. In Bahia and in Pernam- 
buco the pokeka was deliciously Africanized, or, better, Braziiianized, 
in the form of the moqueca of the Big House kitchens. 

»»*Tish of the CyeUéUe family 
(Ciebia oscelhris)"— Lima, and Bar- 

foao, op. cit. (Translator.) 

IM "Various species of fish of the 
Caracinidee family."— Lima and Bar- 
roso, op. dt.— "A fish {Myletes W- 
dens) whldi ii a common article of 
food in Amazonia, found in lakes, 
igarapés, and igapSs."— Glossary of 
Brazilian-A?nazonian Terms (op. cic). 

^ Lima and Barroso (op. cit.) give 
the spelling: mixira. They define the 
term as "preserves made from the 
peixe-boi, the tambaqui, or the young 
torde, in the oil of the animal from 
which they af« made.** The same 
word occurs in Spanish. (Translator.) 

^ "Alammif er of the oider Snvni* 

iiie of the Triebeebid^ ftmily (7Vf- 
cbeebus immgws),^—lJxDA and Bar- 
roso, op. cit.— "Manatee ... a large 
aquatic mammal."— G/ojjary of Bra- 
zilian-Amazoman Terms (op. cit.). 

^Araujo Lima, loc. cic^The au- 
thor mentions another native mode of 
preparing fish among the rural popu- 
lations of the Amazon region: mujica 
—"any kind of fish cooked or smoked, 
sliced into small bits after the scales 
have been removed, and augmented 
with its own gravy made with fer- 
mented-manihot nour and tapioca 

1^ "Ragout of fish or shellfish with 
oil and pepper."— Lima and Barroso, 
op. cit. (Transbtor.) 

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132 The Masters and the Slaves 

The turtle, as has been said, constitutes a culinary complex in itself, 
one of a number that the native has handed down to the Brazilian for 
his diet. Out of the turtle, in the far north of Brazil, they make a 
variety of confections, each of which is highly praised by gourmets as 
being more savory than any other. One of these is arabii, made with 
flour from the yolk of turtle eggs or those of the tracajá no other 
ingredients.^®' Yet finer and more delicate is almnã-tmúc or tracajá 
eggs "smoked before gestation has been completed," says Araujo 
Lima, "the small turtle or tortoise having a certain portion of the yolk 
adhering to its bosom." Abunã is eaten with salt and flour. Then there 
is Tmjanguêy^^ a mingau or manihot paste made from the egg-yolks 
of the turtle or tracajá with fine manihot flour, diluted with water. 
Some persons Europeanize this dish by adding salt or sugar. And, 
lastly, there is paxicã, a picado or ragout made of turtle's liver, 
seasoned with salt, lemon, and Indian pepper. 

The abuse that the aborigines made of pepper is well known, and it 
is one that is still continued in the Brazilian kitchen of today.^^ In the 
extreme north there exists jnquitaia, a hybrid condiment composed of 
pepper and salt. Boughs of the pepper tree are hung up in the kitchen, 
and after the pepper has been dried it is run through the oven and is 
then placed in die mortar to be pounded and mixed with salt. The 
pepper complex was heightened in Brazil through the influence of 
African cookery, which was still better adapted than that of the 
aborigines to excitations of the palate. It is the Afro-Bahian cuisine 
that is most noted for this abuse. But the native by no means disdained 
the use of pepper, any more than he disdained the pijericúy^^ the 

t9i**Xracajá: (Spanish terecea)-~% 
fresh-water tortoise of the genus 
EmySy whose flesh and eggs are con- 
sidered deVicac'ics." —Glossary of Bra- 
zilia7j-A??hizo?jian Terms (op. cit.). 

i« Lima and Barroso (op. cic) state 
that orM is "made with turtle eggs, 
flour, and sugar." (Translator.) 

Also written mujangue.—^'Dish 
made from the raw eggs of the turtle, 
tortoise (tracajá)^ or sea-gull, with 
sugar and fermented-manihot flour.** 
—Lima and Barroso, op. cit.— "Dish 
of tortoise eggs, farinha d\igua, and 
sugar."— G/oiwy of BraTÁlian-Ama- 
zonian Terms (op. cit.). (Translator.) 
**L*emphi au phnent pour rel^ 

ver Pinsipidité des altmentSy' observes 
Sigaud (op. dt.), **s*est introdidt de~ 

ptás lor 5 dam Us habitudes au point 
de covstituer aujourd^hui P indispen- 
sable assaisofmevicmt de tous les ban- 
quets, . . In Pernambuco, the Ba- 
rão de Nazareth tells us, one did not 
go to a banquet without taking condi- 
ments along with him, in his coat 
pocket, from fear that the host, out 
of European elegance, would not of- 
fer them at taUe. 

Lima and Barroso (op. dt.) give 
the spelling pijerecu. "Plant of the 
AnonacCiC family (Xylopia fmcte- 
scens), also known as coajerucu."— 
Ibid. (Translator.) 

The Native in the Brazilian Family 1 3 3 

pimrim,^^^ the lemon, and at times, to take the place of salt, the use of 
ashes. Sigaud states that one of the frequent causes of attacks of 
dysentery among the Brazilian Indians -attacks of which we learn in 
the accounts left us by the Jesuits— was the immoderate use of ginger, 
pepper, and lemon: "Les Indiens doivent â Fmage immoderi du 
gingembre, du phnent et du Umany de jréquents attaques de dysen^ 

Peckholt stresses the fact thar maize* was the only cereal that the 
Europeans found m Brazil; and he proceeds, to mention the other 
vegetable foods of which the aborigines made use and of which the 
newcomers availed themselves: mamhot; the sweet potato; the yam; 
the pinhSo; cacao; die peanut. Green vegetables were scarce, and 
the natives attached no importance to those that they possessed. 'The 
green vegetables procured by the Indians were few in number; how- 
ever, the women did gather for eating purposes certain forest plants, 
such as various kinds of carurus,^®* the serralha,^®^ and especially the 
paknetto, which, raw as well as cooked, was a favorite edible." ^'^ 

With regard to fruit, the land discovered by Pedro Alvares was 
more fertile; but so far as those varieties passed on by the natives to 
Europeans are concerned, there is to be noted only the cultivated 
mamoeiro, or papaw tree,^'^ and the guava. The Indians also trans- 
mitted to the Europeans the cashew complex -along with a series 
of medicinal and culinary applications, especially noteworthy being 
the use of cashew nuts in the making of a very good wine which today 
is characteristically Brazilian. 

A list of the plants and medicinal herbs with which the Indians 

"jMedicinal plant of the Lau- 
racccc family {Acrodiclidiimi pti- 
chury-7fiajor)y also called pexorim 
and puxufi^^ljsm and Bárroso, op. 
cit. (Translator.) 

^®^A plant of the Euphorbiacete 
family (Jatropha curcas L.).— Lima 
and Barroso, op. cit. (Translator.) 

^ Name given to various plants of 
die AmarantaeM fanuly.— Luna and 
Barroso, op. dt.— The Glossary of 
Brazilia?7-A?f7azonÍMt Terms (op. cit.) 
identifies it as thcAmarantus oleracea, 

Plant of the Camposue family 
(Sanchus Uevu),^ljm». and Barroso, 
op. dt. (Transutcff.) 

1'^'* Peckholt, op. cit. 

^"^^ This is the papaya tree {Carica 
papaya Lin.). (Translator.) 

The term complex is employed 
throughout flits essay in ks anthro- 
{xtlogical or sociological sense, signi- 
fying that series of traits or processes 
which constitutes a sort of cultural 
constellation. Thus we have the mani- 
hot complex, die couvade oompkx, 
the milk complex, the exogamic oom- 
plex, the tobacco complex, etc. As 
Wissler observes, in Ma?2 and Culture, 
this anthropologic usage is not to be 
confiDsed with the psychopathologic 
meaning of the wcno. 

Copyrighted material 

1 34 The Masters and the Slaves 

were acquainted and of which they made use would be a long one; 
and Brazilian culture might have taken more advantage of them than 
it did, had the relations between the first missionaries and the native 
pajés and healers been better than they were. Even so, the Jesuits 
'*dès le príncipe de leur établisse7?ie?it s^appliqiièrent à recueiller^ à 
étudier les productions lo cales j et à faire leur profit des connaissances 
et des observations indigenes^'' ^writes Sigand. But the French scientist, 
to whom Brazilian medicine owes so much, goes on to say: "Dzi 
mélmge des pratiques indigènes et des for?mles copiées des limes de 
médicine européenSy naquit une thérapeutique informe, grossière, 
extravagante qui se transnjit par tradition dans les classes de culti- 
vateurs de sucre et de coton et gardiens de troupeux dam les mont- 
agnes ou sertões; et ce mélange pritnitif, altéré par les areanes des 
nègres vénus de Gumée et d* Angola, fut dès lors le portage exclusif 
des hommes qm ^intkulèrent médicms du peuple ou guérisseurs" 

A plantadon-owner of the sort mentioned by Sigaud, given to 
curing the sick by a gross and hybrid therapeutic such as this, but one 
that at times produced better results than the academic methods of 
the Europeans, was Gabriel Soares. His Log Book is full of recipes 
that he had learned from the Indians. Among these were the follow- 

carimã cake soaked in water for children who have worms or the per- 
son suffering from poison (*'in either case this is a remedy diat has been 
thoroughly tried by the Indians as well as by the Portuguese," he adds); 

cooked corn for those suffering from buboes; 

cashew juice taken in the mommg, before breakfast, for die "conser- 
vation of the stomach," and for oral hygiene as well (and, in speaking of 
cashew nuts, "they give a good breath to the one who eats them in the 

morning," says Gabriel Soares); 
the bud of the enibaiba tree for healing wounds and old sores; 
gum-mastic plasters for "closing broken flesh"; 

petume (tobacco) for disease of the sexual organ, and, the smoke 
of liiis plant, being sucked in through a straw tube lighted at die rip- 
indigenous grandfather of the pipe— js excellent for "every man who takes 

For an excellent creative por- 
trait of this kind of empiric healer in 
nineteenth-century Brazil, see the 
novel Inoeênciãy by Alfredo d*Escrag- 
noUe Taunay, in Henriqueta Cham- 
berlain's translation (New York: The 
Macmillan Gcm^Mny, 1945)* (Trans- 

*^*The embdbOf or wnbaúboy is a 

tree of the Moraceee family (Cecropia 
palmata). It has a number of other 
names as well.— Lima and Barroso, 
op. cic. (Tiaodator.) 

^"^^Petum or petume is the TVipl 
name for tobacco; the forms petema 
and petima also occur.— Lima and 
Barroso, op. cit. (Translator.) 

The Native in the Brazilian Family 1 3 5 

Being possessed like the other plantadon-ownmg colonists of such 
nredotis lore, Gabriel Soaies did not see the necessity of surgeons 
nom Bahia, ''for the reason that every man is a surgeon in his own 
house." He devotes an entire page of his Log Book to the peanat; or 
midubi, a plant that was not gathered at random by the Indian women 
in the jungle, but one that was a product of their rudimentary system 
of agriculture: ''the male has nothing to do with this plant and the 
benefit derived from it; it is the women alone who are accustomed to 
plant it. . . 

There was other vegetable bre, useful in domestic economy and 
die activities of die home, diat was transmitted by die indigenous cul- 
ture to the dvilizarion of the European colonizer, who preserved and 
developed it, adapting it to his own needs. In connection with this 
lore, vi^ may mendon: 

a knowledge of the various fibrous plants of use in weaving and plaiting: 
cotton, tucum,"^ the wild Caraguatá; 

the use of peipeçaba for making brooms; 

the growing of gourds, to be used as vessels for carrying water and 
preserving flour, as wash-bowls, and, it would seem, as urinals also; 

the method of curing the jerimum by smoking it for an entire year; 

a knowlec^e of the various woods and other ve^table substances of 
use for building-purposes: liana, dmbo,^^ sapé, and pindoba straw,^ long 
employed in the roofing of houses; 

a knowledge of the animals— birds, fish, shellfish, etc.— that were good 
to eat and that at the same time lent their shards, feathers, hides, and wool 
to various uses in the intimate and daily life of the colonial family: for 
making cups, for constructing shelters, tor stuffing bolsters, pillows, mat- 
tresses, for the manufacture of hammocks, etc.; 

the use of the tabuá reed,^®^ an excellent material for mats; 

a knowledge of the various-colored dyes now employed in the decora- 
tion of house walls, the dyeing of cloth, the painting of women's faces, 
and the manufiictiire of kSa for writing-purposes: the whk» of tabadnga 

Soares, op. cit., p. 151. 

i'^'^ "Species of palm (Bactris setona 
Mart.) from whose leaves the best 
fiber is extracted.'*— Lima and Bar- 
roso^ op. de. (Translttor.) 

ITO Name given to various plants of 
the fíromeliacea familv-— Lima and 

_ * 

Barroso, op. cit. (Translator.) 

^'•The peipecaba {peipetaba) is a 
plant generally known in Brazil by 
die name of 'Vassourinha,** or "littw 
broom** (ún^Scopmtdulcií), (Txan»> 

Plant of the ConcurbkãCM OC 
gourd family. (Translator.) 

A variety of liana. (Translator.) 
usThe pindoba is a plant of the 
Pahnaceét htoBy {Atuka campu 
Af^.).— Lima and Banuso» op. dt 

Plant of the Typhaceee family 
{Typha domingensis PeTS,)^ also 
called Panasanã, of which nao an 
made. Lima and Bairoao» op. dt 

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I }6 The Masters and the Slaves 

clay,*** the carnation hue of the araribá/**"' Brazil-wood, and the urucú, 
the black of the genipap, the yellow of the tatajuba; 

a knowledge of various gums and resins, useful for glviing papers, sealing 
envelopes in the manner of sealing-wax, etc 

If, in connection with the utilizatioii or adaptation of all this mate- 
rial, European intelligence or technique in die great majority of cases 
fulfilled something iSce a creative functicm, or at least one of trans- 
mutation, diere were other cases in which a direct transmission of 
values or acquired knowledge occurred, from one culture to die 
other—from that of the native to that of the foreign-comer. 

A number of these processes and much of this knowledge, it is 
worth stressing the point once more, were received by die European 
colonizer from the hands of die native woman-always a more pro- 
ducdve element than the man in primitive cultures. She it was who 
passed on to the Brazilian family valuable methods of infantile and 
domestic hygiene that deserve to be noted; but first, it is neces- 
sary to trace in general outline not only the pedagogical aspect, 
but the life of the child as a whole among the aborigines. I shall de- 
scribe, a little farther on, the part played by the child— if not a 
dramatic role, at any rate a decisive one— as the point of contact be- 
tween the two cultures, the native and the European, whether as the 
civilizing vehicle of the Catholic missionary to the heathen or as the 
conduit through which there flow^ed a precious portion of the aborigi- 
nal culture, from the Indian villages to the missions and from there 
to the general life of the colonizing race— to the patriarchal Big 
Houses themselves. 

The young Indian w^as far from being the free child of nature 
imagined by Jean Jacques Rousseau— created without fear of super- 
stitions. Just as among the civilized, so among the savages we shall en- 
counter numerous abuses with regard to childhood, some of them of 
a prophylactic intent, corresponding to a fear, on the part of the 
parents, of malign spirits or influences, while others were pedagogical 
in character, their aim being to orient the child along the path of 
traditional tribal deportment or to subject him indirectly to the au- 
thorit\^ of adults. 

Frank Clarence Spencer, to whom we owe one of the most interest- 

A varicolored clay used in pot- ^••The tatajuba (tatajiba) is a plant 

tery-making. (Translator.) of the Maracete family {Bagassa gm- 

185 Xree of the Legummosie family anensis Aubl), also known as jataiba, 

(Centrolobium tomentosum Benth.). —Lima and BaiTOSO, op. cit. (Txans^ 

—Lima and Barroso, op. cit. (Trans- later.) 

The Native Í7i the Brazilian Favtily 1 3 7 

mg studies of Amerindian pedagogy, ''The Education of the Pueblo 
Child,'* lays emphasis on the fact that primitive life, not only in 
America but in general, is not the calm, idyllic existence that eight- 
eenth-century Europeans supposed it to be, any more than it is "the 
dogged, sullen subjection described by later writers." But there is a 
middle term: "They are in constant subjection to their superstitious 
fears, and yet diey are generally joyful and happy.'* ^ 

The same investigator encountered among the Pueblos a dance de- 
signed especially to frighten children and inspire in them sentiments 
of obedience and respect toward their elders. The characters of the 
dance were something like hobgoblins, or the terrifying figures of 
another woiid who Imd come down to this one to devour or carry 
off bad children. Stevenson informs us of a similar dance among die 
Zufii Indians, a macabre one, endmg in the actual death of a child 
chosen from among the worst behaved of the tribe; but these dances 
were only staged at intervals, with long years between.^ The moral 
and pedagogical purpose was to influence the child's conduct dirough 
fear and the example of a horrible punishment. 

The work, today a classic one, of Alexander Francis Chamberlain, 
on childhood in primitive cultures and in the folklore of historic cul- 
tures^®® indicates that the hobgoblin was a generalized complex 
among those cultures, and almost always, so it would seem, with a 
moralistic or pedagogical end in view. Among the ancient Hebrews 
there was Lilith, a horrible hairy monster that roamed at night in 
search of children. Among the Greeks it was certain ugly old hags, 
the Strigalai, who carried away children. Among the Romans, Capri- 
mulgus— possibly the remote ancestor of our cabra-cabriola 
would sally forth at night to suck the milk of the nanny-goat and eat 
the young child, while by day, in the forest, the evil spirit of the 
wood, Silvanus, held sway. Among the Russians it is a horrible goblin, 
terrifying as is everything that is Russian, that at midnight comes to 
snatch awny children in their sleep. With the Germans it is Popanz; 
with the Scotch and the English the Boo Man, the Bogey Man. 
Champlain and the first chroniclers of Canada speak of a horrible 
monster, the terror of children among the natives. The Mayas believe 

^ Frank Oarenoe Sjpenoer: "Edu- Ethnology Reparty VoL V < Wuhingw 

Cktkmof the Pueblo Child," Columbia ton). 

University Contrihiitions to Philoso- Alexander Francis Chamberlain: 

phy, Psychology and Education^ Vol. The Child and Childhood in Folk- 

VII, No. I (New York, 1899). Thought (New York, 1896). 

>^T.E.Sceveii8c«: 'HHieReliguras ^Lhenlly, the 'leaping nanny- 
Life of die Zofii Child,*' Buresat of goat," a mythical *^buibo.** (Transfai- 


Copyrighted material 

138 The Masters and the Slaves 

in giants who come by night to kidnap children— the balams, the 
culcalkin. And among the Gaulala Indians of California, Powers found 
devil dances which he compares with the Haberfeldtrciber of Ba- 
varia an institution for frightening women and children and keep- 
ing them in order. These were dances in which there appeared a 
horrendous figure, "an ugly apparition." On its head was a bear's 
skin, on its back a cloak of feathers, while its bosom was striped like 
a zebra.^^^ 

There were dances similar to the "devil dance"— or Jurupari*s 
dance-among the aborigines of Brazil, and with the same object in 
view, that of frightening the women and children and keeping them 
in line. Ámong the Indians in this part of America dance ma^ had 
an important function. Koch-Griinberg observes that they were 
guarded as something sacred and that their mysterious power was 
supposed to be transmitted to the dancer. These were masks imitating 
dcinoniac animals, into which the savage imagined that the dead had 
been transformed, and their magic efficacy was angmented by the 
fact that many of the materials in their composition were of human 
or animal origin: human hair, animal skin, feathers, etc. The dancer, 
for his part, must imitate the movements and voices of the demoniac 
animal, as in those dances described by the first chroniclers. And 
like the masks, the sacred instruments were similarly looked upon as 
be^ filled with a mysterious power. 

The Jesuits preserved the dmces of the native children and, in 
doing so, made of the devil a comic figure, clearly with the object of 
deprivmg die Jurupari complex of its prestige, through ridicule. 
Cardim ^ alludes to one of tnese dances. With the disparagement of 
Jurupari and of die sacred masks and cymbals, there was destroyed 
among the Indians one of their most powelful means of social control 
This, up to a certain point, represented a victory on the part of 
Qiristianity. But there remamed, meanwhile, in die descendants of 
the aborii^nes a residuum of all this animism and totemism. Under 
Gadiolic focms, superfidally adopted, diese totemistic elements in 
Brazilian culture have been prolonged to this day. There are survivals 
ea^ to identify, once the vami^ of European disstmnkdon or simu- 
lation has been scraped away. Many of them are to be found in die 

''Haberfeldtreibe7i: kind OÍ pop- Company [CasselPs Neiv Gerrnan- 
ular lynch justice practiced at night English Dictio7iary\). (Iransiator.) 
by Bavarian peasants. Haberfeldtrei' ^ Pdwets, in Chambedain, op. ck, 
bet: one taking part in this popular ^^-^ Jurapari was the demon of die 
justice."— Karl Breul: A New Ger- Tupis. (Translator.) 
man and English Dicticmary (New The sixteenth-century mission- 
York and London: Funk & Wagnalis aiy and chronicler. (Translator.) 

Copyrighted material 

The Native in the Brazilian Family 1 39 

play and the games of children in which there is an imitation of 

animals, either real ones or vague, imaginary, demoniac creations of 
the childish fancy. They are to be found also in the tales of serpents* 
which have a special fascination for the Brazilian young. As a sort of 
social memoriai, inherited as it were, the Brazilian, above ail in his 
childhood, when he is more instinctive and less intellectaalized by 
European education, feels strangely close to die living forest^ filled 
with animals and monsters known to him by their indigenous 
names ^ and, in good part, through the eicperiences and supecstidoos 
of the Indians.^"* It is a quasi-insdnctive interest that tbe Brazilian 
child of today has for the f ear-inspirins ^^Inchos^ ^ It is similar to 
the feeling that the European child has lot stories of the wolf and tlie 
bear, but much more lively and strong, much more powerful and 
overwhelming in its mixture of fear and fascination, even tbougfa 
more v^e in essence. The Brazilian child is not afraid of any par- 
ticular bicho, but of the bicho in general, a bicho that he cannot very 
well describe, but which represents a kind of synthesis of the Bra- 
zilian's ignorance of the fauna as well as the flora of his country. A 
mythical bicho, horrible, indefinable; possibly the carrapatú.^^^ To 
this day, little children in northern Brazil are lulled by the following 

Sleep, sleep, my little one. 
There in the jungle is a bicho 
Called the carrapatóJ^ 

For a vivid picture of all this by 
a contempoianr Brazilian novelist, see 
the Terras do sem fim of Jorge 

Amado, translated by Samuel Putnam 
and published in English under the 
title of The Violent Land (New 
York: Alfred A. Knopf; 1945). See 
Caiapter u» "The Forest." (Transla- 

^^•^ In Brazil of the early days, as 
among the savages, one was exposed 
to the stings and bites of venomous 
oc harmful inaeccs and other animals: 
serpents, ^e big hairy spider, soor- 

Sions, centipedes, mosquitoes, gad- 
ies, chicken-lice, hornets, fleas, jag- 
uars, the piranha fish, beetles, etc. 
Forest, beach, and the water of the 
rims, all were inhabited by worms 
and insects, reptiles and fish that were 
cavenons for human blood. In this 

connection Sigaud (op. cit.), refening 
MTticalarly co the Indians, writes: 
^Les piqmres, Ies morsures des am" 
maux ou insectes verámeux les expose 

au tétanos. . . 

The term bicho is an extremely 
v^ue one. As the traveler cited by 
Roquette Pinto, a litde later on, re- 
marks: "in Brazil, every animal it, 
simply, a bicho." The word com- 
monly refers to a worm or insect, but 
takes in other wild animals, and imagi- 
nary ones, as wdL (Trandator.) 

iWThe "bicho/* listed here are 
mythical in character. On the hupu- 
piara, see below and note 257. (Trans- 

^ Durma, durma, meu filbmbo* 
Lá no mato Um um Mcbo 
Chamado earrapatá. 

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I40 The Masters and the Slaves 

It may possibly be the hupupiara; or the macobeba, a name and con- 
ception with which a friend of mine recently became acquainted 
through a child of six, in Barreiros, in the state of Pernambuco. Prac- 
tically every Brazilian child who is a little more inventive or imairina- 
tive than other children creates his own uiacobeba, based upon that 
fear, a vague but enormous one, not, as 1 have said, of any bicho in 
particular— not of the serpent, the jaguar, the water-hog but 
simply of the bicho: of the bicho known as tutâ^^^ of the carrapatúy 
of the mmbi ^-in the last analysis, of Jurupan. A fear that makes 
us aware of how close we still are to the living and virgin forest, and 
to what an extent an aboriginal animism still survives in us, diminish- 
ing but not as yet destroyed. 

The Brazilian bicho complex is deserving of a separate study; it is 
one of the most interesting that there are for the one who is con- 
cerned with problems having to do with the relations and contact 
between unequal cultures. The vague character of our fear of the 
bicho shows us that we are still in large part a people incompletely 
int^rrated in die tropical or American habitat; but the fascination 
that we feel for an3rdiing in the nature of animal lore, even though 
the animals are but v^uely known to us, and the large number of 
superstitions that are bound up with animals,^ point to a process, 

Capivara: Species of rodent 
(Hydrochoerus capybara ) . — I .iiua and 
Barroso, op. cit. (Translator.) 

^ Goblin widi which chJIdrea are 
frightened. (Translator.) 

"Ghostly being which, accord- 
ing to popular Afro-Brazilian belief, 
wanders about in the late hours of the 
night."— Lima and Barroso, op. cit. 

**Many of these were inherited 
from the aborigines. The author of 
the Dialogues on the Graridems of 
Brasil (op. cit.), p. 275, tells us of the 
Indians that, however stout-hearted 
they might be, if upon setting out 
on some undertaking "they were to 
hear the song of a bird [the peitica], 
of which mention has been made, 
swayed by this augury they would 
abandon me journey and turn back.** 
The superstition attached to the 
peitica is one that remains with the 
Brazilian of the north: "In the states 
of the north they still look upon it as 

an ill omen and cannot abide its pres- 
ence in the neighborhood of rheir 
dwellings." So writes Rodolfo Garcia, 
in commenting on the sixth dialogue 
of the sixteenth-century chronider. 
And in some of the obviously totem- 
istic beliefs and superstitions men- 
tioned by Father João Daniel it is easy 
to recognize the origin of many of 
those that today are current in the 
north, when they are not prevalent 
throughout the whole of Brazil, 
among the common people: "From 
the time they are small they believe 
in certain omens connected with 
birds, beasts of the jungle, and many 
other such things; and for this reason 
there are birds that they do not kill or 
even harm. And when they encounter 
certain beasts at such and such a time 
or on such and such an occasion, diey 
leam that this or that misfortune is 
coming to them, or that they are go- 
ing to die; and they cling so tena- 
ciously to these dogmas, in which the 

The Native in the Brazilian Family 141 

even though a slow one, of complete integration with our environ- 
ment and at the same rime indicate the survival of totcmistic and 
animistic tendencies among us. Rucdiger Bilden, a German, upon his 
visit to Brazil, \\ as astonished at our ignorance of the precise, exact 
names for designating plants and animals; and another traveler, cited 
by Professor Roquette Pinto, noted that in Brazil every animal is, 
simply, a bichoJ^ Roquette Pinto's comment is: "Even in the rural 
districts, every June bug is a beetle and nothing more.^. • • With 

elders believe, that even when they 
see the contrary happening, there is no 
getdng k oitt oi didr hefld& One of 
diese means of divination is die tapir, 

of whidl I have spoken above; and 
the same is true of the hedgehog, 
which they call the gandtí-acú, and 
which is the harbinger of death when 
Úíxsf behold it in this or that manner; 
and so with many odier animals.'* 
—Thesoiiro Descoberto no Maximo 
Rio Amazonas {Treasure Discovered 
in the Great Amazon River) , begin- 
ning of Part II, which treats of the 
Indians of the Amazon region, of 
their faidi, life, customs, etc., copied 
from a manuscript in the Public Li- 
brar)' of Rio de Janeiro: Reznsta do 
Instituto Histórico e Geográphico 
Brasileiroy Vol. 11, No. 7 (Rio de 
Janeiro, 1858).— Montoya ("Guarani 
Manuscript of the National Library 
of Rio de Janeiro on the Primitive 
Catechism of the Indians of the Mis- 
sions," Afuds da Biblioteca Nacional 
[AmuUf of the Natiorud Library}^ 
Vol. VI) informs us that among the 
Indians observed by hini, when a stag 
or a toad would put in an appearance, 
this was looked upon as a sign that 
one of diose present ^nld die soon. 
From the list of superstitions pre- 
pared by Professor Ulysses Pernam- 
bucano de Mello and his colleagues 
of Recife, it may be seen that a lar^e 
niimber of popular saperstitions in 
die nordi, as widi the Indians, have to 
do wkh animals and vegetables that 
are ill-omened or that bring happi- 
ness. When the mangangá beetle en- 
ters the house, it is a very bad omen. 

and the same is true of the black 
butterfly or the toad; but the spider, 
on the other hand, is "hope," come to 
announce happiness. On this subject, 

see the interesting essays of Joao 
Al f redo de Freitas : "/í Igwuas Palavras 
Sobre O Fetichisino Religioso e Folt- 
tico Entre Nos^' ("A Few Words on 
the Religious and Political Fetishism 
among Us") (Pernambuco, 1883); 
and "Lendas e Superstições do Norte 
do Brasir ("Legends and Supersti- 
tions of Northern Brazil") (Recife, 
1884). See also the Folk-lore Brésilien 
of the Baron de Sant* Anna Nery 
(Paris, 1889). The work of Basilio de 
Magalhães, O Folclore no Brasil (op. 
cit.), has an excellent bibliography, 
listing the most important works that 
have appeared on die Brazilian's be* 
Iwfe ana superstitions. 

[The bird known as the peiticãf 
mentioned in the author's note above, 
is the Tapera mevia ncevia^ and is 
described by Lima and Barroso (op. 
dt.) as having a '^onotonous and 
annoying song.**— The term man- 
gangá in northeastern Brazil is applied 
to a species of large wood-gnawing 
beetles.— Lima and Barroso, ibid. 

204 Mansfield had observed, in 1852: 
"I find the people here (at least the 
English people to whom I have 
spoken) know very little about the 
natural productions.**— CSiarles B. 
Mansfield: Paraguay, BrassU and the 
Plate (Cambridge, 1856 V 

205 Preely translated: "todo besoUfO 
é wn cascudo e nada nrns" 

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1^2 The Masters and the Slaves 

plants, it is a little better; our people are able to distinguish and 
christen various natural groups: there is the gravata; there is the 
angico; there is the coqueiro.^^^ As a result of cultural antagonisms, 
the names of animals and plants have been preserved in the native 
tongue, to be handed down to the largely illiterate descendants of the 
backland Indians in place of being transmitted to the accentuatedly 
European or African culture of the seaboard and the agricultural 
zone. However abundant the means of communication between the 
two subcultures may have been, it was from the more instinctive, less 
intellectualized element, which in its illiteracy preserved a greater 
knowledge of the indigenous flora and fauna, that the other element, 
more European in its culture, was to receive an extremely rich con- 
tingent or layer of native values, which still are without a vital, crea- 
tive function in the social system of BraziL 

Let us now turn to the childhood of the savage, stressing the jpoint 
that from the cradle—that is to say, from the hammock or tipoia— it 
was surrounded by superstitions and fears having to do with mon- 
strous animals. The tipóia— the infant carried on its mother's back, 
held there by a band of cloth— is a trait that has been lost among our 
Brazilian customs, a fact that is (mly to be explained by the extra- 
domestic activity of the Indian woman. Along with the hammock 
complex, the custom of the hammock-cradle won out and is only 
now beginning to disappear from the traditions of the north. Many 
an illustrious personage from the northeast, today a made man, must 
have been rea red in a hammock, rocked by his Negro nurse.^ Many 

^The same as earaguatã, men- cadavefs and a red one for the 

noned above: name ap^plied to a num- wounded or injured. "The transport 

bcr of plants (if tlic fíromeliacece of corpses in the rural regions, 

family.— Lima and Barroso, op. ciL throughout the whole of Brazil, was 

(Translator.) effected in the past, and still is today, 

^ Name common to various trees by means of hammocks. These ham- 

of the Leffmonos^ family, Mimosa- mocks, slung over the sturdy shoul- 

cete division, genus Piptadenia.—lÀmsi ders of sertanejos and backwoodsmen, 

and Barroso, op. cit. (Translator.) eat up the miles until the corpse is 

Commonly, the coco tree. — deposited in the parish cemetery." 

** Vulgar name given to all the palms —Francisco Luiz da Gama Rosa: 

that produce edible fruit or are in '^Costumes do Pavo nos Nasetmentos, 

yríât nat industrially."— Lima and BatizadoSy Casamentos e Enterros'* 

Barroso, op. cit. (Translator.) ("Customs of the People with Regard 

The hammock figures in the to Births, Christenings, Marriages, and 

social history of Brazil as a bed, as a Interments"), Revista do hmitttto 

means of conveyance or travel, and HistáHeo e Geográphieo Brasileiro^ 

as a means of tran^ort for the side special volume. First Congress of Na- 

and the dead. There exists a conven- tional History, Part V (Rio de Ja- 

tion in accordance with which the neiro^ IÇI?)* 
white hammock is used for carrying 

The Native in the Brazilian Family 143 

times, as an infaiic, he must have dropped off to sleep listening to the 
mourafol creaking of the hammock-hook. Cardim notes that ivith 
this hammock-hook the Indians associated the first ceremooies at- 
tendant upon the birth of the child; upon it they hung, in case the 
newborn was a male, a bow with flowers and "bundles of grass." All 
of which was symbolic, or possibly prophylactic. Throughout in- 
fancy the prophylactic measures for guarding the child against malign 
influences were kept up: *'they have many modes of augonr, for they 
place cotton upon the child's head and rub the palms of its hands with 
bird-feathers and sticks of wood in order that it may grow." ^ 

There was also the painting of the body with urucà or genipap; 
there was the perforation of the lips, the nasal septum, and die ears; 
there was the insertion of plugs, spindles, stalks into the orifices of the 
body; there was the stringing of animal teeth about the neck. All this 
by way of disfiguring, mutilating the child with the object of render- 
ing it repulsive to evil spirits, preserving it from the evil eye and odier 
malign influences. 

Scmie of these prophylactic preoccupations, disguised at times or 
confused with devout and decorative motives, continue to surround 
the Brazilian child. In the north it is still common to see children laden 
down with trinkets about their necks: animal teeth, gold or wooden 
amulets,^" Catholic holy medals and other symbols, locks of hair, and 
the like. It is the custom among the most devout Catholic families of 
northern and central Brazil to offer the child's hair or ringlets, when 
it has reached the age to have its locks shorn, to the image of Our 
Lord on the Cross, the dead Saviour; and in this, perhaps, we have a 
survival of the Amerindian fear that the hair, teeth, or nails of an in- 
dividual, and especially of a child, might scn^e as an object for prac- 
tices of witchcraft or magic. What better way of avoiding such a risk 
than by offering the child's hair to Jesus Himself? 

That idealization of which Indian children were the object in the 
early days of the catechism and of colonization— the era, precisely, of 
a high death-rate among the young, as is to be gathered from the 
chronicles of the Jesuits themselves ^^—frequendy took on a semi- 

**** Fernão Cardim: Tratados da 
Terra e Qente do BrasU (op. ck.), 
p. 170. 

The word here is figa. The figa 
was a "little object in the form of a 
closed fist, with the thumb between 
the index and the middle finger" tnd 
**h used sapenririously to ward oS 
evil apelk, disease, ccc"— Lima and 

Barroso, op. cit. (Translator.) 

^ Montoya (op^ dt., p. 296) speaks 
of the settlements of Itapui, where 
"the life of children was not of long 
duration and they died very readily; 
some of them even died in their 
modms^ wombs, others flhofify after 
th^ were bom, without being bap- 
tized.** On this sobjcct^ read atto 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

morbid character, the result, perhaps, of an identification of the child 
with the angel of the Catholics. The death of the child came to be 
accepted almost joyfully, at any rate without horror. The influence 
of such an attitude is to be seen in our own customs; to this day, 
among the backwoodsmen and seruwejos, and even among the poor 
of the cities in the north, the burial of the infant, or "angel" as they 
generally say,^^' contrasts with the somber mournfulness of adult 
funerals. In the days of the catechism, the Jesuits, possibly by way of 
attenuating among the Indians the bad effect of an increased infantile 
death-rate, which was a consequence of contact or intercourse be- 
tween the two races under unhygienic conditions, did everything in 
their power to adom and embellish the fact of death in the case of a 
child. This was no sinner who was dying, but an innocent angel 
whom Our Lord was calling to Himself. The story that Montoya has 
to tell us is typical of this morbid atmosphere created by the excessive 
idealization of the infant. A child, the son of a Brother of the Rosary, 
was envious when it ivitnessed the burial of one of its playmates. ''The 
body, according to established custom, was all decked out with 
flowers and on the dead child's head was one of the prettiest of floral 
wreaths. This led the other young one to b^ his father that he too 

Affonso de E. Taunay: S, Pmdo nõs 

Prhneiros Anos (op. cit.) (1920). 
Sergio Milliet inikes the intelligent 
suggestion that the importance at- 
tributed to angels and children in our 
colonial society (in accordance with 
the evidence presented in dik essay) 
is possibly related to the "develop* 
ment of the baroque" in Rra/il, as 
brought out by Professor Roger 
Bastide in his paper ^Tsicologia do 
Cafuné (*Tsychology of the Ca- 
funé*'), Planalto (São Fanlo), Septem- 
ber I, 1941. 

[With reference to the baroque, 
Lima and Barroso (op. cit.) observe 
that the "ardiitecture of colonial 
churches in Brazil" was "marked by 
its influence."— Sergio Milliet is one 
of the present editors of the Revista 
do Arquivo Municipal of São Paulo 
and is a distinguished essayist and 
nordist as wdL^CafunS is oie mune 
applied to the custom of snapping 
with the fingernails on the head oc 
another person. (Translator.)] 

See Jorge Aniado's The Violent 

Land (op. cit.), p. 75: **And Damião 
would come and lift the little sky- 
blue casket of the child, dressed like 
an angel. It was almost always he who 
bore the caskets of the 'little angels* 
when a child died on the plantation. 
Damião would arrange ihe wOd- 
flowers, strew them over the casket. 
. . ." — Sec Euclides da Cunha's vivid 
description of the death of a serta- 
nejo^s child, Os Sertões, lóth edition, 
p. 143, and, in translation. Rebellion 
m the Backlands (op. cit.), p. 113: 
"The death of a child is a holiday. In 
the hut of the poor parents guitars 
twang joyfully amid the tears; the 
noisy, passionate samba b danced 
again and the quatrains of the poedc 
challengers loudly resound; wnile at 
one side, between two tallow candles, 
wreathed in flowers, the dead infant 
is laid out, reflecting in its last smile, 
fixed in death, the supreme conteinfr' 
ment of one who is going back to 
heaven and eternal bliss— which is the 
dominant preoccupation of these sim- 
ple, primitive souls." (Translator.) 

The Nathe in the Brmlim Family 145 

might die. ^Let me die, father,'' he would say; and he then would 
stretch himself out on the ground like the body of his pl.ivm.ite as he 
had seen it. Having heard his son say this many times, the father one 
day replied: son, if God wills that you should die, may His nvill 
be done? Upon hearing these words, the child said: ''Very well, 
Father, I mi going to die now. And throwing himself down upon 
the bed, w ith no sickness whatsoever, he passed away." ^" 

The Indian mother, as she cradled her child in the hammock, would 
lull it to sleep with tender expressions for the little one that, under 
the influence of Catholicism, was to be idcall/cd into an angel. 
Roquette Pinto has preserved for us a song of the Pared Indians, be- 

Essá-mokocê cê-inakà 

(Sleep, little one, in your hammock, 

And in the ocas, or collective dwellings of the Indians— large houses 
that, by reason of their communistic character and the vegetable mate- 
rial employed in their construction, were quite different from the 
strong, soHd structures of clay or of stone and mortar that the im- 
perialist colonizers from Europe erected in the neighborhood of the 
sugar plantations-in the ocas the mingled songs of the mothers lulling 
dieir young to sleep must have been heard many times. For these 
enormous sheds (consisting of rafters covered widi pindoba fronds) 
were inhabited by eighty or a hundred persons, and diere were many 
children among them.*^* 

In some of ãie tribes the mothers fashioned for their young ones 
playthii^ made of unbaked clay, representing the figures of animals 
and people, the latter being "predominantly of the feminine sex,*' 
notes the ethnologist Erland Nordenskiold in his recent studies of the 
tribes of northern Brazil.^' These figures were "greatly simplified in 
form • • . being generally deprived of extremities, including even the 
head, but with the indication of tattooing on the upper part of the 
body.** Nordenskiold attributes the extreme simplification of the clay 
dolls of the natives of the Pilcomayo region to "their concern with 
rendering them unbreakable in the hands of children." It would seem, 
however, that these figures of people and of animals had an occult 
sigiiilicance, that they were not mere playthings; or rather that ani- 

Montoya, op. cit., p. 308. 

Roquette Pmto: Rondâma (op. the bibliographical analysis of the 

cit.). Bulletin of the Goeldi Museum (Mu- 

Ler\% op. cit., Vol. II, p, 95. seum of Pará) of Natural Histor)" and 

Erland Nordenskiold, cited in Ethnography, Vol. Vli (Pará, 1913). 

Copyrighted material 

146 The Masters and the Slaves 

mism, totemism, and sexual magic were unctuously extended to these 
children's toys. In the clay dolls of the Carajá Indians,"^^ in the 
Araguaia River region, Emilio Goeldi encountered a reminiscence of 
"the phallomorphic idols of baked clay such as are to be found in the 
burying-ground of the Indians that formerly dwelt at the n:iouth of 
the Amazon." -^^ The native tradition of clay dolls was not communi- 
Gated to Brazilian culture; the prevailing doll with us came to be the 
rag doll, possibly of African origin. But the fondness our children 
have for playing with animal figures is still a characteristic trait, al- 
though it is disappearing with the standardization of industry accord- 
ing to American and German patterns and the introductíon of me- 
chanical toys. Meanwhile at our backland fairs one may still come 
upon these imeresdng figurines, notably those of monkeys, beetles, 
turtles, newts, and toads. Nor should we overlook the narive custom 
of employing domesticated birds to amuse the young; ^ even today 
the catching of birds with clay pellets or with banana-stalk traps 
is a very characterisric habit with the Brazilian child. 

In his "Report on the Mission of Father Christovão de Gouvêa to 
the Regions of Brazil in the Year '83," Father Cardim tells us that the 
Indian children had "many games of their own sort," but he does not 
describe any of them in precise detail He notes that the young cabo» 
cios disported themselves *Svith much greater merriment and ]ay thaa 
Portuguese children." And he does pive us a general idea of the nature 
of their play: "in these games they imitate various birds, serpents, and 
other animals; they are quite charming and carefree, nor is there any 
quarreling, wailing, or fighting among them, and one does not hear 
any obscooity or calling of bad names." Possibly out of modesty as a 
m^ioiiaty. £e do«n^ speak of erode game^ for there m«/h»e 
been such games among the young chOdroi and adolescents of Brazil, 
of die kind that Professor Malinowski observed in Melanesia.^ To 
judge by the ''lascivious songs" to which a number of the eariy mis- 
sionaries allude, songs for which Father Anchieta undertook to sub- 
stitute hymns to die Virgin and devout canddes, it is to be presumed 
that such erotic games did exist among the Brazilian aborigines. In 

Indians of the State oi Goiás. 


Bulletin of the Goeldi Museum. 
—J. W. Fewkes arrives ac the conclu- 
skm that dolls among dviUzed peoples 

are a survival of primitive idols (in 
A. F. Chamberlain: The Child, 3rd 
edition, London, 1926). 

^Roquecce Pinto: Rondâma (op, 


221 That is, clay pellets hardened in 
the iire and shot from the bodoque^ 
or doable-scringed boiw.->Ltma and 

Barroso, op. cit. (Translator.) 

222 Bronislaw Malinowski: The Sex- 
ual Life of Savages in Northivestem 
Melanesia (New York and London, 

Copyrighted material 

The Native in the Brazilian Family 147 

Cardim we find a refmnce to the river sports of the young Indians: 
'*the lads of the village, swimming in the river, would lie in ambush 
for one another and then would burst forth with a great shouting and 
bellowing; and they had other games and water sports of their own 
kind that were very chartnii^, some of the lads being in canoes while 
others would dive to the bottom and then rise to the surface and leap 
ashore with their hands raised, crying: 'Praised be Jesus Christ!'— 
and then they would come to receive the padre's benedicrion. . . 

In connecti<m with the childish pastimes of which Father Cardim 
speaks, as in the magic dancesi the war dances, and the love dances of 
adults, there is to be noted the tendency of the American savage to 
mingle his own life with diat of animals. His devils have animal heads 
and are thus represented in his dance masks. His songs imitate die 
voices of animals as his dances do their movements; his drinking-cups 
and earthenware jars are a repetition of animal forms. 

Out of this aboriginal tradirion there remains with the Brazilian 
a fondness for infantile games and sports that involve the imitation 
of animals. The basis of the great popularity of the game of chance 
known as bicho lies in the animistic and totemistic residuum of Amer- 
indian culture, later reinforced by the African.'^^ There is, mean- 
while, a more positive contribution that the American Indian child 
has made to the play-life of European children. This is a game that 
consists in batting about a rubber ball. It was played by the Indians 
with a ball that probably had a rubber covering, but which to the 
first Europeans appeared to be made of very light wood. The batting 
was done with the backs of the players, who at times had to throw 
themselves flat on the ground in order to accomplish this. It was ob- 
viously a game of the same sort as the one called ?mta-naariti^ wliich 
General Cândido Rondon encountered among the Parecis, the ball 
in the latter instance— according to Roquette Pinto, in his Rondonia— 
being made of the rubber of the mangaba tree and batted about in 

»s A. F. Chamberlain fuii^ out a 

fact that, it seems to me, may legiti- 
mately be associated with the Brazil- 
ian complex represented by the game 
of bicbo: namely, the secinskm or 
enforoed fiastíng of novices and neo- 
phytes in various primitive societies 
to the point where, in their dreams or 
a state of hallucination, they behold 
the animal that is destined to be their 
totdary genhis and whose fonn, very 
often, is tattooed on their bodies. 
(Tbt cm and CbUdhoad m Folk- 

Thought, London, 1896.) Many a 
bicho-phyer has his favorite animal, 
which appears to him in a dream to 
"bringjum luck." 

***The tree known as mangabeka 
(Haneomia tpedosa Qcmez), The 
mangaba is a round orange-colored 
fruit that is eaten when over-ripe. 
The mangabeira yields a milky juice 
from which the so called "Pernam- 
buco rubber^ Is piodnoed (Trans- 

Copyrighted material 

148 The Masters and the Slaves 

the same manner. Following the discovery of America, the Ambas- 
sador of Venice to the court of Charles V of Spain saw this game 
played by young savages in Seville, which was the point of conflu- 
ence for American novelties in the sixteenth and seventeenth cen- 
turies, by virtue of its disa de Ccmtratacw7i}-'^ The Ambassador tells 
us that the ball was "as big as a peach or bigger, and they did not 
bat it with their hands or with their feet, but with their backs, and 
this they did with such dexterity that it A\ as a marvel to behold. At 
times they practically threw themselves on the ground in order to 
repel the ball, and it was all done with great cleverness." 

Á number of the games and dances of the Brazilian savages had an 
evident pedagogical intention. We may note the ^^quietação e aim- 
zade" the "orderliness and friendship" —in other words, the "fair 
play" ^^^-that Father Cardim so greatly admired in the Brazilian 
caboclos of the sixteenth century. No "bad names or obscenity" from 
one player to another, no "calling the father and mother names." It is 
possible that, by wa^ of emphasizing the contrast with European 
children, the padre is exaggerating when he says: *'rarely in their 
play do they lose their tempers or quarrel for any reason whatever, 
and rarely do the fight with one another." ^ 

At an early age the Indian lads learned to dance and sing. The same 
Father Cardun describes a number of the children's dances. Some of 
diese were adopted by the Society of Jesus in its system of education 
and catechism. The most common, perhaps, was the Smré, described 
by Father Jcão Daniel."* 

As a generalization, it may be stated that the Indian child grew up 
free of corporal punishment and of paternal or maternal discipline. 
But childhood for him none the less followed a species of liturgy or 
ritual, as did die whole of primitive Ufe. 

Upon attaining the age of puberty the boy had his head shorn in 
the manner which Brodier Vicente do Salvador^ describes as die 
friar's haircut, and the girl likewise had her locks trimmed in mascu- 

^ Qearing house. (Translator.) 
J. Ganda Mercadal: Espma 

Vista por Los EstranjeroSy Relaciones 
de Viajeros y Embajadores (jSiglo 
XVI) (Madrid, n. d.). 

^ The words are in English in the 
text. (Translator.) 

*M Cardim, op. cit., pp. 175 and 310. 
in an article in the newspaper A 
Manhã, April 12, 1942, under the 
heading "Imaginary World," Senhor 

Affonso Arinos de Mello Franco la- 
ments that he is unable to recaU any 
Brazilian work on tradiiJonal sports 
and games. The pages devoted to the 
subject in the present essay date from 


•••João Daniel, op. cit., p. 112. 

^ Early and notable Brazilian his- 
torian, bom at Bahia in 1564. (Tran»> 

Copyriyi iicu I : i ulCI lal 

The Native in the Brasdlim Family 1 49 

line fashion. The segregation of the lads ttpon reaching puberty, in 
clubs or houses accessible only to men— houses known by the name 
of bcttto in central Brazil -appears to have been designed to assore 
the domination of the masculine over the feminine sex, by educating 
the adolescent male to exert such a dominion. These houses were 
forbidden to women (unless they happened to be old women, ren- 
dered masculine or sexless by age) and to other children who had not 
as yet been initiated. TTere were prcscr\ cd the flutes and cymbals, 
which no woman could recall ever having glimpsed, nor did she care 
to glimpse them, even from afar, for such a sight meant certain deatii. 
During the period of segregation the lad learned how to treat the 
woman, to feel always superior to her and never to unbosom himself 
in confidences to his mother or any female whatsoever, but only to 
his father and his men friends. The affinities that were exalted were 
fraternal ones, those of man for man, virile in character. The result 
of all this was an environment that was propitious to homosexuality. 

The tests that were given the yourh upon his initiation were rude 
ones. Some of them were so brutal that the neophyte could not en- 
dure them and died as a consequence of the excessive rigor of the 
ceremony. I have ahready spoken of flagellation, tattooing, the per- 
foration of the septum, the lips, and the ears. Other tests that were in 
use consisted in die pulling and fifing of teeth; reminiscences of this 
and of African tattooing arc still to be found among the backlanders 
of the northeast and among fishermen. According to .Webster, in his 
classic work, Pmmtive Secret Societies,^^ a true process of moral 
and technical education took place within these organizations, the 
object being the preparation of the youth for the responsibilities and 
privileges of manhood. The adolescent was here initiated into the 
most useful mysteries having to do with the technique of building 
houses, hunting, fishing, making war, singing and music, and every- 
thing that the neophyte ought to know concerning magic and reli- 
gion. Here, in contact with the elders, he was impregnated with the 
traditions of the tribe. It was a rapid but intense educational process, 
die indoctrination and instruction bekig brought to bear upon green 
novices in a state of extreme sensitivity as a result of their fastings, 
vigils, and privations. If corporal punishment and tiie discipline of 
father and mother were lacking among the natives of Brazil— a fact 
that so astonished die first chroniclers— there was, on the other hand, 
this severe discipline which has just been described and which was 
imposed chiefly by the elders. Father João Daniel tells us of another 

Hutton Webster: Vrimitive Secret Societies^ A Study in Early Politics and 
Rdigion (New York, 1908). 

Copyrighted material 

1 50 The Masters and the Slaves 

missionary, an acquaintance of his, who, having heard the cries of a 
child during the night, at dawn next day sent to inquire what the 
trouble was, only to learn that it was "F., who all night long had 
been beating his nephew to make him strong, brave, and stout- 
hearted." One thing of which childhood among the savages was 
free was disciplinary ear-puUings, pinchings, and the like. Even "mis- 
deeds and crimes," as Friar Vicente observes, went unpunished among 
the Brazilian aborigines.^^^ And Gabriel Scares, writing in his Log 
Book of the Tupinambás,^ has this to say: "The Tupinambás do 
not inflict any punishment upon their children, nor do they preach 
them sermons or reprimand them for anything th^ do." But at 
times the young ones were flogged -and adults would even flog one 
anothcr^with a pedagogical end in view or as a means of prophylaxis 
against evil spirits, as I have mentioned above. Possessing, thus, the 
flagellation complex, it was easy for them to adapt themselves to the 
concept of penance introduced by the missionaries, and from the 
earliest times they were notable for the practice of such rites. Cardim 
records the fervor with which the natives fulfilled the penances im- 
posed upon them by the Cathohc Church. 

The maltreatment of the person, even to the point of pulling out 
the tongue or scarifying it with a sharp animaFs tooth, was for the 
primitive a process of purification and of conjuration, applied with 
especial rigor to the boy or girl upon initiation into puberty. The 
same thing, according to Rafael Karscen, may be said of the violent 
pbyâcal exercises of the Indfans— their dances, wrestling matches, 
races, the arm-breakii^ game ^-calculated, all of them, to produce 
abundant perspiradon. For the primitive supposed that, by means of 
sweat as well as blood, he wotdd be able to cast out the dbnon from 
the individual's body. It was for this reason that certain savases sub- 
jected the sick— always looked upon as demon-possessed and snameful 
beii^— to strenuous choreographic exercises of a stric^ ceremonial 
and magic character, by no means intended as a diversion or as an 
expression of sociability. It is not lubridous but mysdcal sweat that 
is sought in these dances, in the course of which it is common for 
individuab to flog one another. A number of Brazilian children's 

João Daniel, op. cit., p. 291. 
**Frci Vicente do Salvador: His- 
táriã do BrasU (ofK cit), p. 59. 

"Generic designation of various 

Tupi tribes that, in the sixteenth cen- 
tury, inhabited the seacoast of BraziL" 
—Lima and Barroso, op. cit. 

"•^This is the queda de braço^ or 
quebra de braço: **a game in which 
the contestants endeavor to bend each 
other's forearm over the húrizontal 
on which their elbows xesc" 
and Barroso, op. cit. 


The Native in the Braúlian Family 1 5 1 

games-among them, "hot-strap" {peia queimada) and "manjíf' 
are a reflectioii of the flagellation complex. 

The native child did not lack a mother's care so far as its health 
was concerned; this is indicated by the many prophylactic measures 
that were taken; it is shown by the state of cleanliness in which the 
young one was kept. It is shown, above all, by die child's joyfubess 
and sense of well-bdng. 

Among the best memories of his contact with Brazilian Indians that 
Léry took back to Europe with him was that of the **€onarmS' 
nmi^ ^ playing or dancmg on the village green of the tabas^ or 
native settiements. The only one who was even more charmed than 
he was Father Cardim. The young lads described by the padre had 
alreacty been instructed by the missionaries; but it is evident that 
they had not lost, in the shadow of the Jesuit cassocks, the light- 
hea* tedness of savages. Léry found them enjoying perfect freedom: 
**fessufj grasseis é- refais quails sont^ beaucoup plus que ceux de par 
deçà, avec leiirs poinçons if os blancs dans leurs Uvres fevdues, les 
chfiveux tondus à leur ?node & qiielquefois le corps pehituré, ne 
failloyent iamais de venir en troupe dansans an devant de nous quand 
ils nous croyoyent arriver en leiirs inlla^es.''^ In their faulty speech, 
the youthful caboclos would ask the visitors to toss them fishhooks: 
"Couto-affat, amabé pinda" When Léry acceded to their request, 
there was great merriment: **. . . c*estoit un passe temps de voir ceste 
petite inariiraUle toute nue laquelle pour trouver Ò- ??jasser ces home- 
çons trepilloit & gargoit la terre connne connils de garemie.'^ ^ 

These young ones whom the Frenchman found to be so sturdy had 
come into the world like animals. Hearing a woman's cries, once 
upon a time, Lcry, like every good Franchman something of an 
alarmist, immediately thought of the ian-ou-arc^ a hicho that from 
time to time devoured savages. But when, accompanied by another 
Frenchman, he went to see what was happening, the pair discovered 
that the cries were those of a woman giving birth. The husband was 
acting as midwife; and it was he whom Léry saw cutting the umbilical 
cord with his teeth; it was he who flattened the baby's nose in place 
of straightening it according to the European custom, after which 
he bathed the newborn infant and proceeded to paint its body red 

2" On "hot-strap," see what the 
author has to say in Chapter iv, p. 349- 
35a Mania is a game somediing like 
our hide-and-seek, with occasioflol ta- 
discie variatioiís» in die lonn of ipink> 

ings administered by the winners at 
the end. (Translator.) 

'^'ThaC is, the young Indliil chil- 
dren} a native tenn. 

'**Léiy, op. cit, VoL I, pp. 137^ 

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152 The Masters and the Slaves 

and black.^^® The child was then laid in a small cotton hammock or 
was placed in "shreds of hammocks, called a tipóia,^* and was 
fastened to its mother's back or to her hips. 

Léry was delighted with the infantile and domestic hygiene of the 
natives, contrasting it \\ ith that of Europeans and concluding that 
the American process was the superior one. The child grew up free 
of skirts, swaddling-clothes, and diapers that would have rendered 
its movements difficult. But this did not imply any lack of care on 
the part of the mothers. While they may not have had skirts and 
diapers, the Tupi babies did not for this reason grow up dirty and 
unkempt. On the contrary, the French observer was impressed by 
their cleanliness and neatness. In the frank words of Léry: ^'^qu^ en- 
cores que les jewmes de ce pays lã fiayent ctucuns linges pour toucher 
k derrière de leurs enfants, mesmes qtCeUes ne se servent nan plus â 
cela feuiUes d^arbres & d^herbes, dont toutesfois elks ant grande 
abandonee: neantmoins elks en sant si saigneiisa^, que seulement avec 
de petíts bois que elks rompent, cormne petites chevilles, elles ks 
nettoyent si bien que vous ne les verriez iantais breneux" Leaves 
and bits of wood served the natives of Brazil, not only as dishes, 

towels, and napkins, but also as toilet-paper and infants' diapers. 

Gabriel Soares records the custom that the Indians had of giving 
to their offspring the names of animals, fishes, trees, etc^^^ names 
that Karsten shows to have been, generally, those of the same animals 
represented by their sacred dance masks.-^^ This was, therefore, an 
expression of that animism and magic with which the whole of 
primitive life is found to be suffused. Whiffen stresses the fact that 
the names of persons among the Brazilian tribes of the northeast 
are only pronounced in a low voice, religiou^y.^ These names,^ 
in certain tribes, were displaced by something in die nature of so- 
briquets, belonging apparently to that category of "non-poetic** 
names as collected by Theodoro Sampaio: Guarquinguara (bird's 
behind); Miguiguacú (big buttocks); Cururupeba (fitde toad); Man- 
diopuba (rotten manihot); etc. It would seem that the object of these 
names was to render the persons bearing them repugnant to the 

One thing of which child-life among the savages was not free was 

aw Ibid., VoL IT, p. 88. 
2*0 Cardim, op. cit., p. 170, 

Lér\% op. cit.. Vol. II, p. 91. 
2*2 Soares, op. cit., p. 314, 
**• Karsten, op. cit. 

Whiffen, op. cit. 

atf That is to say, the trae names, 

received in infancy; these were sup- 
posed to be magically bound np with 
the soul of the individual.— Karsten, 
op. cic. 

The Native in the Brazilian Family 1 5 3 

horrible fears. The fear of the young ones that the sky would fall 
upon their heads. The fear that óic eaSth would flee from under their 
feet.**® All this in addition to the great dread they had of Jurapari. 

Even in broad daylight, with the sun diining brightly on the green, 
the children in the midst of their play would be seeing ^^ostly fonns, 
including that of the devil himself, and would come runnmg to the 
house screaming with terror. The demons generally appeared with 
terrifying animal-heads. Some of them Father Antônio Ruiz Montoya 
describes with a certain luxury of detail as having appeared to none 
other dian a steward of the Jesuits— this, to be sure» was in the days 
of the catechism. The padre tells us that they had "feet like animals, 
long nails, slender legs, and hot-glowing eyes.'*^' Here, perhaps, 
is the influence of the Christian devil; for the devil of Cadiolic the- 
ology was to be added to the Jurupari complex and was even to 
absorb the latter. 

But it was not merely a matter of ghosts, nor was it die devil in the 
form of animals that alone made life miserable for the savage. There 
were monsters that today we do not know how to describe: the 
guaiazis; the coruqueamos; the maiturus (men with feet turned back- 
ward); the jiboiucús; the horrible simiavulpina; and, more damna- 
ble than any of the others, the hipupiaras, or hupupiaras. These last 
were certain men of the sea who spread terror along the beaches.^ 

*^ . • some of diem m the mom- 
ing, upon awakening, rise and, plant- 
ing their feet on the ground, raise 
their arms heavenward as if to uphold 
the sky and keep it from falling^ and 
in so doing diey believe tliat aU will 
be well \\ ith them for the whole of 
that day." Father Luis Figueira: 
Relação do Maranhão^ Doctmientos 
para a História do Brasil e especial- 
mente do Cearáy 1608-162$ {Account 
ef Mm'anhSOf Documenu for the His- 
tory of Brazil and Especially of Ceará, 
etc.) (Fortaleza, 1904). 

Montoya, op. cit., pp. 164-5. 

Simão de Vasconcellos: Vida do 
Venerável Padre Joseph de Anchieta 
da Companhia de Jestt, Taumaturgo 
do Novo Mundo na Provinda do 
Brasil . . . {Li^e of the Venerable 
Father Joseph de Anchieta of the 
Society of Jesus, Minde^Worker of 
the New World in the Province of 
Brazil) (Lisbon, 1672), p. loi. 

^> Cardim, Gabriel Soaves, and 
Gandavo all allude with horror to this 
marine monster. In his História da 
Provinda de Santa Cruz (History of 
the Province of Santa Cruz)^ edition 
of 1858, Gandavo gives us a piccore 
of the hipupiara, and a terrifying one 
it is. Of this monster Father Cardim 
{op. cit.) tells us that the natives had 
so great a fear that, "merely upon 
hearing tell of it, many of them die, 
and none 1x^10 sees it escapes.** He 
goes into detail: "they have the 
appearance of men of good stature, 
but their eyes are deeply sunken." 
There were females of the species, 
too: •*the females appear to be women, 
diey have long hair, and are shapdjr 
creatures; and these monsters are to 
be met with along the banks of the 
fresh-water streams. In Jagoaripe, 
seven or eight leagues from Bania, 
many of them have been found. . . .** 
Arthur Neiva believes that the hipn- 

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1 54 The Masters and the Slaves 

Goumiets after their fashion, the hipupiaras did not devour the entire 
flesh of a person, but took only a bite here and there. It was sufficient, 
however, to leave the individual a wreck. They ate his "eyes, nose, the 
tips of his toes and ângers, and his genitals." The rest they left to rot 
on the beach. 

The truth of the matter is that savage life in its various phases is 
found to be imbued with an animism, a totemism, a sexual magic that 
was, perforce, communicated to the culture of the invader, which did 
no more than deform these elements— it did not destroy them. 

Of the totemisdc and animistic culture of the aborigine, there 
remains with the Brazilian, especially as a child, an attitude that in- 
sensibly embodies this animism and totemism with regard to plants 
and animals (still so numerous in our country), some of which are 
endowed by the popular imagination, as well as by the childish fancy, 
with a truly human malice, with other semi-human qualities, and widi 
an intelligence and a power superior to those of men. This is shown 
by our folklore and popular tales, by our superstitions and traditions. 
It is shown by the many stories, so Brazilian in flavor, of the marriage 
of human beings with animals, of friendship or love between men 
and beasts of the sort that Hartland associates with totemisdc col- 
tores.^ Stories that correspond to an attitude of tolerance, when not 
an utter lack of repugnance, in real life, toward a senal onion of 
man and beast, an attitude that is very common among Brazilian 
children of the interior.^'*^ It is to be found in the sertanejo' s offspring 
more than in the plantation child; in the latter, nevertheless, it is 
sufficiently common to be recognized as a complex -in this case 
sociological as well as Freudian— of our Brazilian cidture. In both 
cases— that of the plantation child and that of the yoong sertanejo^ 

^ara w a:> suiiie "stray example of the 
Omtm Jukata Fonter, ijss.-^Bshoço 
Histórico sobre a Botânica e Zoologia 
no Brasil (Historical Sketch of the 
Botany and Zoology of Brazil) (São 
Paulo, 1929). 
SM«it foDows," says HaRbnd, 
peoples in that stage of thougiic 
cannot have, in theory at all events, a 
repugnance to a sexual union between 
man and the lower animals with 
which religious training and the 
growth pi civfliZBtioii have mranssed 
all the higher races. Such peoples ad- 
mit the possibility of a marriage 
wherein one party may be human 
and the other an animal of a different 

species, or even a tree or a plant." 
—Edwin SichMy Hardand: Ttt Sd' 
ence of Fakry Tàtês (and edicíoa, 

London, 1925). 

Gilberto Freyre: Vida Social no 
Nordeste'' ("Social Life in the North- 
east"), in the Livro do Norãen$ 
{Book of the Nortbem)^ commemo- 
rative of the centenary of the Diário 
de Pernambuco (Recife, 1925); and 
more recently José Lins do Rego: 
Menino do Engenho (Plantation 
Lãi), a novel (Rio de Janeiro, 1932). 
Qcero ENas also deals with this sub- 
ject in his unpublidied autobiognphi> 
cal novel, Jundia, 

Copyrighted material 

The Nathe in the Brasdlian Family 


the physical experience of love is anricipated by the abuse of animals 
and even of plants; in an effort to satisfy that fury with which the 
sexual instinct dawns in them, the lads make use of cows, nanny- 
goats, ewes, hens, and other domestic animals, or of plants and fruits: 
of the banana tree, the watermelon, or the fruit of the mandacaru. 
These are practices which, with the sertanejo, up to the period of 
his adolescence and sometimes until he is married, make up for the 
lack or scarcity of domestic or public prostitution: nurses, mulatto 
girls, Negro houseboys, public women, through whom the plantation 
lads and those in the cities of the seaboard so soon become contam- 

Other traces of elementary, primitive life persist in Brazilian cul- 
ture. In addirion to the fear of the bicho and the monster, already 
menrioned, there are others, equally elementary, that arc common to 
Brazilians, especially in their childhood, and which go to show that 
we are perhaps nearer to the tropical forest than any other civilized 
people of modem times. So far as that is concerned, the most civilized 
man has "wtáàn himself many of these great primitive fears; with 
us Brazilians, they merely make their appearance more forcefully, for 
the reason that we still dwell in the shadow of the jungle, the virgin 
forest. In the shadow, likewise, of that culture of the trofncal forest— 
of America and of Africa— which the Portuguese incorporated and 
assimilated with his own as no other colonizer of modem times has 
done; and it is for this reason that we are subjected to frequent 
relapses into the primitive mentality, with its instincts and its fears. 
Hall states that every civilized man has preserved out of his savage 
ancestry a tendency to believe in phantasmal beings, souk from an- 
other world, goblins, and the like: **a prepotent bias, that haunts the 
very nerves and pulses of the most cultured, to believe in ghosts»" 
Brazilians are, par excellence^ the people with a belief in the super- 
natural; in all that surrounds us we feel the touch of strange influences, 
and every so often our newspapers reveal cases of apparitions, ghosts, 
enchantments. Whence the success among us of spiritualism in both 
its higher and its lower forms.*** 

G. S. Hall: "A Study of Fears/' 
in Alexander Francis Chamberlain's 
The Child, a Study in the Evolution 
of Mm (3rd edition, London, 1916). 

Tliose fears which Hall terms 
fears of "gravity,"— that Is to say, the 
fear of falling, of losing one's direc- 
tion or senses, of the eanh's fleeing 
from under one's feet, etc, conunon 

among primitive peoples— find ex- 

{)rcssion in various superstitions and 
egends current in Brazil from the 
earliest times and still to be met with 
in the interior of the country and in 
the sertões. "Of the waters of the 
Grão-Paraguai," writes Theodoro 
Sampaio (he is speaking of the six- 
teenth century), 'there in the heart of 

156 The Masters and the Slaves 

Also frequent among us are relapses into a savage, or primitive, 
fury of destruction, manifested in assassinations, pillagings, the in- 
vasion of plantations by cangaceiros, or bandits. Rarely is there a 
political or civic movement in which explosions of this fury, in normal 
times repressed or held within bounds, do not occur. Silvio Romero 
even goes so far as to criticize us for the ingenuousness with which we 
"give the pompous name of liberal revolutions'* to '^disorderly out- 
bursts of wrath." The true character of these movements, as being 
representative of the dash of dissimilar or antagonistic cultures, rather 
than civic or political, appears not to have escaped this astute ob- 
server: "the savage or barbaric elements that lie on the ethnic bottom 
of our nationality freely come to the surface, lift their heads, and 
prolong the anarchy, the spontaneous disorder/' So \vrites Romero,*'^ 
apropos of the revolts known by the names of Balaiada, Sabinada, 
Cabanada,-^ and so on, which have agitated Brazil in the past. And 
might not the same characterizarion be extended to apply to such 
other uprisings as those of the nutta-mata-imrinheiros, the quebra^ 
qmhsy the farrapos?^ Who can say if, bringing it down to the 

the backlands, the report was cur- 
rent that, rushing over « formidable 
cataract widi a frightful thunder of 
sound, rhcy caused the earth to trem- 
ble and tlic living being who heard 
them to lose his senses."— Cited by 
Taunay: São Pauh nos Pfttneiros 
Tempos (op. at.). For other legends 
and supersations of Amerindian ori- 
gin, bound up with the great rivers 
and the jungle, see the posthumous 
work by Affonso Arinos: Lendas e 
Tradições Brasileiras {Brazilian Leg- 
ends and Traditions) (São Pado, 

[On spiritualism in Brazil as re- 
flected in literature, in the year 1942, 
see my observations in Handbook of 
Latin American Studies^ No. 8, p. 38a 

Silvio Romero: Provocações e 
Debates (op. cit.). 

•"Names siven to various revolts 
in Brazil Bmmada is applied to the 
uprising of the BalaioSf which re- 
sulted in civil war in Maranhão from 
1838 to 1840. Balaio (literally, straw 
basket) was the name given to one of 
the leaders, Mannd £x Anjos Fer- 

reira. The Sabinada was the separatist 
revolution of Bahia, in the time of the 
Regency (it lasted from 1835 to 

1837), and was so named from one 
of its leaders, a Dr. Sabino. The 
Cabanada (1832-5) was a revolt in 
Pernambuco that had for object the 
restoration of Pedro I to the throne. 

Mata-mata-marinheiros was the 
name given to the participants in an 
anti-Portuguese revolt of the eight- 
eenth century. The Quebra-^tdhs 
were those who fMrtidpated in a 
seditious movement in Paraíba, in 
1875, provoked bv the imposition of 
new jprovincial taxes and the law 
estabbshing the metric system in Bra- 
zil (quilo: kilogram; quebrar, to break 
or shatter). The term Farrapos j a 
famous one in Brazilian history, liter- 
ally means "the ragged ones" and was 
first applied by the legalists, as a 
derogatory epithet, to úit insurrec- 
ti<mary republicans, or "crackbrain 
liberals (liberais exaltados) " of Rio 
Grande do Sul, in 1835. (Transla- 

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The Native in the Brazilian Family 1 5 7 

present time, we might not apply it to more recent movements, even 
though these latter are animnted by a more intense ideological fervor 

than the former ones. The Pernambuco revolution of 18 17 impresses 
me as being, in the words of Oliveira Lima,~^^ "the only one worthy 
of the name" in our political history. It is, without a doubt, the one 
that less than any other has the character of a mere riot^ propttious to 
pillaging, the one that suffers least from a deformation of political or 
ideological objectives. Not that I regard it as being exclusively polit- 
ical, without economic roots; what I wish to stress is that it was 
carried out in a manner different from such revolts as the Abrilada,»» 
with a definite program and political style. Of the Vinagrada uprising 
of 1836, in Pará, Silvio Romero writes: *'the Tapuia element reared its 
head, tripping merrily ov« the lives and property of others." 

This is not to speak of those movements that were plainly slave 
revolts, explosions of race hatred or of rebelliousness on the part of a 
socially and economically oppressed class— the insurrection of the 
Negroes in Minas, for example. Nor are we concerned here with 
those cultural earthquakes, for they were something very like that, 
on the part of oppressed cultures bursting forth in order not to die 
of suffocation and breaking through the incrustations of the dominant 
culture that they might be able to breathe, as would appear to have 
been the case with the Negro movement of Bahia in 1835. This last 
was the case of a Mohammedan Negro culture against a Portuguese 
Catholic one.-"^^ These are movements apart, with a profound social 
direction and significance, just as was that of Canudos,'*"^ which was a 
result of the diiferentiation bervvccu the culture of the seaboard and 
that of the sertão. The relapses into the fury of the savage arc rather 
to be observed in movements with objectives that are apparently 
political or civic in character, but which in truth are only a pretext 
for a retrogression to a primitive culture that has been trampled 
underfoot but not destroyed. 

"'^Prominent diplomat^ statesman, 
and historical essayist of the tum-of- 

the-century era. (Translator.) 

Abrilada: literallv% April Revo- 
lution, referring to the restorationisc 
revolt in Penuonbnco in zSji* (Gf. 
Càbanadttj note 255 above.) Vinagrada 
was the name given to the uprisings 
in the state of Pará during the period 
of the Regency (in 1835-7), so called 
because they were headed by Fran- 
dsoo Vinagre. (Translator.) 
^Abbé Étienne: *^La Secte Mus- 

Copyrighted material 

saímane der AUãis du Brésil et leur 
Revolte en tS^Sf* Antbropos, Janu- 

ar)''-iMarch, 1909. 

200 backlands village that 

served the fanatic, Antonio Con- 
sellieito, as his fortiiied stronghold 
against the armies of the Brazilian 
government, as described in Euclides 
da Cunha's Os Sertões (Rebellion in 
the Backlands). Da Cunha's underly- 
ing thesis is this cultural conflict. 

1 5 8 The Masters and the Slaves 

It is natural that, with regard to the notion of property as with that 
of other moral and material values, including human Hfe, Brazil should 
still be a field of conflict between the most violent antagonisms. With 
respect to propcrt}^, it is a struggle with us to find a point of fixation 
between Amerindian communism and rhc Furopean notion of private 
property. A struggle between the descendant of the communistic 
Indian, with practically no notion of individual ownership, and the 
descendant of the Portuguese individualist, whose life, down to the 
beginning of the nineteenth century, was spent amid the alarms 
of corsairs and highwaymen, who was in the habit of burying his 
money in an earthen jar and hiding his valuables in cellars, while 
the stone walls with which he surrounded himself bristled with shards 
of broken glass as a protection against robbers. Saint-Hilaire, on hb 
journey into the interior of São Paulo in the early iSoo's, found what 
he believed to be a reminiscence of the days of the discovery, in 
reality an expression of the conflict mentioned above between the two 
notions of property: the fact that merchandise in wayside inns, in- 
stead of being exposed to the public view, was kept on the inside of 
the house, the merchant suppÍ3nng the customer by putting his hands 
out through a wicket. The French scientisc interprets it dius: 'The 
tavern-keepers naturally have to take precautions against the covet- 
ousness of the Indians and the rapacity of the mamelucos, who, when 
it comes to discriminating between what is mine and thine, have, 
surely, ideas that are not much more exact than those of the Indians 
themselves.'* ^ 

Gabriel Soares, with his practical man's sagacity, pictures the 
sixteenth-century caboclos that he encountered here as being "ingen- 
ious in learning as much as the whites will teach them." He makes an 
exception, however, of those exercises in mnemonics, ratiocination, 
and abstraction which the fathers of the Society of Jesus from the 
start insisted upon giving to the Indians in their schools: "matters of 
reckoning" and of "understanding," in the chronicler's words.^®^ To 
read, do sums, write, spell, and pray in Latin— that was what they 
taught them. For such exercises the natives displayed no inclination, 
and it is easy to imagine how dull it must have been for them in these 
institutions kept by the padres, a boredom that was only relieved by 
lessons in singing and music, by the dramatic representation of 

Auguste de Saint-Hilaire: Voy- ^Soares, op. cit., p. 321. 
ages dam rintérieur du Brésil (1852). 

The Native in the Brazilian Family 1 59 

miracles and religious aiitos^^^ and by instruction in some manual 
trade or other. This led to Anchieta^s conclusion, of a "lack of ability'* 
on the part of the aborigines, while Gabriel Soares himself describes the 
Tupinambás as "very barbarous" in understanding. 

The latter chronicler encountered among the Tupinambás "a con- 
dition very good for Franciscan friars": they possessed everything in 
common. He might have mentioned another: their inclination toward 
manual tasks, their repugnance for any considerable amount of book- 
learning. The Brazilian aborigine was precisely the type of neophyte 
or catediumen who, once the light of the catechism had dawned upon 
him, was not a good prospect for Jesuit ideology. An enthusiast of the 
Seraphic Order well might sustain the thesis that the ideal missionary 
for a people communistic in tendency and rebellious to intellectual 
discipline, as was the American native, would be the Franciscan. The 
theoretical Franciscan, at any rate: an enemy of intellectualism; an 
enemy of mercantilism; lyric in his simplicity; a friend of the manual 
arts and of small industry; and almost animistic and totemistic in his 
relation to nature, to animal and vegetable life. 

For St. Francis the two great evils afflicting the Christian world of 
his time were: the arrogance of the rich, and die arrogance of the 
erudite. It is said that, upon being informed that a certain Parisian 
doctor, of the fine and subtle kind, had entered a Franciscan mon- 
astery as a friar, he exclaimed: These doctors, my sons, will be the 
destruction of my viae3rard!'* And it was precisely the Jesuits who 
became die doctors of the Giurch, its great men of science, noted 
for their grammars, their compendiums of rhetoric, their docks, maps, 
and terr^trial globes. But meanwhile, as Freer observes, *Sritfa all 
dieir self-confidence they failed; for tmlike the Franciscans, didr 
spirit was not the spirit of the coming ages.** 

The great failure of the Jesuits may be said to have been in Amer- 
ica. In Paraguay. In Brazil. 1 he Brazilian Indians appear to have 
beneiitcd more from the teachings of the Franciscans missionaries and 
the orientation thus acquired. The Franciscans, as Fray Zephyrin 
Engelhardt brings out, where they w ere in charge gave a technical or 
practical direction to the work of the Indian missions, one tliat was 
lacking with the Jesuits. 

The Franciscans were, above all, concerned with turning the na- 

a»In Portoguese, mito Is the an- Arthor S. B. Freer: The Early 

dost term for a dramatic piece; it Franciscans and Jesuks (New York 

was applied to the old farces. It comes and London, 1922). 

to mean, in general, a solemnity. 


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i6o The Masters and the Slaves 

tives into artisans and technicians; they avoided overburdening them 
with that "mental exertion which the Indians hated more than manual 
labor." ^ With regard to the Franciscan method of Christianizing the 
aborigines, Brother Engelhardt adds this comment: "we do not find 
that Christ directed His Apostles to teach reading, writing, and 
arithmetic." A bit of irony that is obviously directed at those with the 
initials S. J. after their names. And in answering the charge that the 
Franciscans in their missions were interested chiefly in training 
apprentices or technicians: "they gave the Indians the education 
which was adapted to their present needs and probable future con- 
dition in society."' Whereas die first Jesuits in Brazil, as may be seen 
from their chronicles, were almost ashamed of the fact that it was 
necessary for them to perform mechanical tasks; they would have 
preferred to devote themselves* to making scholars and young bache- 
lors of arts out of the Indians. From what Father Simão de Vascon- 
cellos tells us, in his Chronicle of the Society of Jesus in the State of 
Brazil and the Work of Its Sons in These Parts of BrazU,^^ it may be 
seen that the fathers of the Society came here without any purpose 
of developing technical or artistic activities among the savages, but 
rather those of a literary and academic nature. The Jesuits were under 
the necessity of becoming artisans on the spur of the moment, of 
Frandscanizing themselves, and this is justified by Father Simão as 
something very like a weakness: "and from this time forth there was 
introduced the labor of the brothers at mechanical tasks and those 
works useful to the community, by reason of the great poverty in 
which they then lived. Nor should it be looked upon as a strange 
thing, and one that is very unbecoming, for the religious to occupy 
themselves with such employment; seeing that St. Joseph did not 
deem it unbefitting in the father of Christ (which he is, in the com- 
mon estimation of mankind), nor did St. Paul find it unseemly in an 
Apostle of the G)llege of Jesus to earn his bread by the labor of his 

2u^Brodier Zephyrin Engelhardt: described by Father Serafim Leite in 

The MtsHont ana Missionaries of his História da CompioiMa de Jesús 

Califofma (Santa Barbara, 1929).— no Brasil (History of the Society of 

See abo Brother Basilio Rower: Jesus m Brazil) (Lisbon, 1938), a 

Páginas da História Franciscana no work notable for its selection, order, 

Brasil (Pages of FriVirisran History method, and documentation. Fhc se- 

in Brazil) (Rio de Janeiro, 1941), lection, it goes without saying, has 

with extensive bibliography, indud- been made from the Jesuit point of 

ing manuscripts, and various interest- ^iew. 

ing notes on the conflicts between the Chronica da Companhia de 

activities of the Franciscans and those Jems do Estado do Brasil e do qite 

of the Jesuits in Brazil. The activity Obraram Seus Filhos neste Parte do 

of the JesiiitB has been abundantly Brasil (op. cie.). 

The Native in the Brazilian Family 1 6 1 

hands and the sweat of his body: such were the examples that were 
followed by the most perfected among the religious of old, who thus 
accustomed their bodies to labor and their souls to humility, until it 
came to be the rule of heaven, which the angels dictated to the holy 
abbot Pacomio." Among the early Jesuits in Brazil it would seem 
that Father Leonardo alone had brought with him out of secular life 
an artisan's trade, diat of a blacksmith; practically all the others had a 
purely academic background or were doctors of the sort that St. 
Francis of Assisi so gready feared, and these it was who of a sudden 
had to become carpenters and molders. They had no enthusiasm, 
however, for manual toil or artistic labor, but rather felt die necesáty 
of apologizing for it by the allegadon that it was unavoidable under 
the rude circumstances in which diey had to cany on their gospel 

That the Franciscan system would have been better for the natives 
than that of the Jesuits appears to me to be obvious. Gabriel Soares 
describes the Tupinanibás as possessing a "great inclination for learn- 
ing these trades"; that is to say, an inclination to become "carpenters, 
hewers and sawers of wood, pottery-makers." They were likewise 
inclined "to all the tasks of the sugar plantations," including even the 
"raising of cows," while the women were adapted to "raising hens," 
"sewing and washing," doing "needlework," etc.^^ 

Coming into the life of the colonizers as legitimate wives, con- 
cubines, mothers of families, wet-nurses, and cooks, the native women 
might find self-expression in activities suited to their sex and their 
tendency toward stability. The Indian male, on the other hand, almost 
always encountered, in his intercourse with the foreign-comers, one 
of two conditions: either he had to labor in the fields of sugar-cane 
for the plantation-owners; or else he was obliged by the padres to 
learn to read, write, and do sums. Later he was to have to drudge on 
the cacao and mate^^ farms. Some of these activities, imposed upon 

die captive Indians or the catechumens, had the e£Fece of diverting 
their energies into channels that were die most repugnant to thdr 
primitive mentality.^^ The padres, for example, kept them from 
contact with those European tools which were the very thing that so 

'"'Vasconcenos: Cbrâmea (op. yeibi. The tree belongs to the il<ffi^ 

at.), p. 43. joliacea family {Ilex paragnariensii 

Scares, op. cit, p. 321. HiL). (Translator.) 

269 Mate is the name both of a tree ^to On the characteristics and tend- 

(the erva-mate) and of a drink that encies of the so-called "primitive 

is made from it. The latter is vari- mentality," read the work by Lévy- 

ously known, in Eiwlish, as mate, Bruhl: MenuM prkmthe (Paris, 

Paragnqw tea. South Srá tea, and 1922). 

Copyrighted material 

1 62 The Masters and the Slaves 

greatly attracted them to the strangers from overseas; instead they 
bored them with copybooks and grammatical exercises,-'^ Other 
practices offended an instinct in them that is so deeply rooted in the 
savage, just as it is in civilized beings: one toward the sexual division 
of labor. This obliged them to a sedentary mode of life, which, for 
men of so stout and roving a disposition, was lethal in effect. They 
were segregated,^^^ concentrated on plantations and in large villages, 
in accordance with a criterion that was wholly foreign to tribes 
accustomed to a communal way of life, but who lived in small groups 
that were, moreover, exogamous and totemistic in character. What 
would have best suited these savages, thus snatched out of the jungle 
in their primitive state and subjected to the deleterious conditions of 
a sedentary life, was to let them wrestle with European tools; this 
would have been a mild form of manual labor that would not have 
been so exhausting as the other form they knew: work with a hoe; it 
would have prepared them for the tranátion from a savage to a 
civilized mode of existence. 

The realization of such a transition should have been the great; die 
principal mission of the catechists. Through such a process much of 
the manual dexterity, artistic aptitude, and decorative talent of the 
Brazilian natives, which has been ahnost wholly lost, might have been 
preserved under new forms through the ample plastic resources of 
European technique. The truth of the matter is, however, that die 
Jesuits were dominated at times by a criterion that was exclusively 
religious, with the padres endeavoring to make of die caboclos docile 
and mellifluous seminarists; and at other tbnes by one that was largely 
economic, with the missionaries making use of their Indian parish- 
ioners for mercantile ends, that they might enrich themselves as well 
as the colonists industrial^ and through the trade in mate, cacao, 
sugar, and drugs. 

Champions of die Indians' cause, the Jesuits were in good part 
responsible for die fact that the treatment of American natives by die 

Copybooks written by hand, by 
Anchieta: **at that time still there 
were in these parts no copies of books 
by means of which the pupils might 
learn the precepts of grammar. This 
neat need was Ghaiicauy supplied by 
José [Andiieta], at the cost of hs 
sweat and labor as he copied out by 
his own hand as many notebooks con- 
taining the said precepts as there were 
pupils to be taught. . . ." Vascon- 

cellos: Cbrâfáea (op. cit.), p. 118. 

*w Studies of the so-called "primi- 
tive mentality" show how painful it 
is for such individuals to be decisively 
separated from the physical environ- 
ment <tf the legimi in whidi diey live 
and to which di^ are bound by a 
set of mystic xebtums: toismlstic and 
animistic. This equilibrium of mysti- 
cal relations was broken by the segre- 
gation imposed by the Jesuits. 

Copyrighted material 

The Native in the Brazilian Family 163 

Portuguese was never so harsh and pernicious as that which the red 
man received from the F.ngHsh Protestants. But even so, the natives 
in this part of the continent were not treated fraternally or idyllically 
by the invaders, and even the Jesuits in their catechizing had resort to 
extreme and exceedingly cruel methods. It is from the mouth of one 
of them— and one of the most pious and saintly of them all, José de 
Anchieta -that I take these stern vi^ords: "the sword and the iron rod 
are the best kind of preaching." 

The attentions of the Brazilian Jesuit were most advantageously 
directed to the native child. Advantageously from the point of view 
by which the padre of the Society of Jesus was governed: that of dis- 
solving in the savage, in as short a time as possible, any native value 
that was in serious conflict with the theology and morality of the 
Church. The eternal oversimplified criterion of the missionary, who 
never perceives the enormous risk involved, seeing that he will be 
incapable of repairing or finding a substitute for all that he destroys. 
Even today, the same oversimplification is to be seen in the English 
missionaries in Africa and in the Fiji Islands.^^ 

The untutored Indian lad was taken out of savage life by the padre 
when he had no more than his milk-teeth with which to bite the 
intruding hand of this bringer of civilization, when he had as yet no 
definite code of morality and his tendencies were vague in character. 
He, it might be said, was the axis of missionaiy acthdcy ; it was out of 
this lad that the Jesuit was to fashion the artificial being so dear to his 

"'Cited by Joao Lúcio de Aze- 
vedo: Os Jesuítas no Grão-Parâ (The 
Jesuits in the Grão-Pará Region) (2nd 
edition, Coimbra, 1930). [F. A. Kirk- 
patrick, in his Latin America^ A Brief 
Minory (New York and Cambridge, 
England, 1939), p. 36, quotes /Gi- 
chictfl as saying: "Conversion must 
be the work of fear rather than love." 
This would seem to point to that 
"religious impenalism** of which 
Freyre speaks. (Translator.)] 

2'^* An oversimplification looked 
upon by Sir J. G. Frazer as "always 
dangerous, and not seldom disastrous" 
is d^t which consists in abolishing 
andent moral codes without assuring 
a real and not an artificial substitu- 
tion.— introduction to C. W. Hobev's 
Bantu Beliefs and Magic (London, 
1922).— Wissler, also (Man and Cid- 

ture, op. cit.), points out the disad- 
vantages that result for savage popula- 
tions from the good, moralizing, and 
civilizing intentions of missionaries, 
even when the latter are not antici- 
pating the economic imperialism of 
the great capitalist countries.— And 
Pitt Rivers (op. cit.) writes: "the 
inevitable result of destroving all the 
old culture-forms and environmental 
conditions in the endeavor to impose 
too dissimilar a culture upon a peo- 
ple specialized by a long process of 
adaptation to particular conditions is 
actually to exterminate them." He 
adds: "It follows from this that all 
missiooary endeavor among heathen 
and savage peofdes ... is incapable 
of achieving anv result in the end ex- 
cept to assist in rhe extermination of 
the people it professes to assist." 

1 64 The Masters and the Slaves 

heart. The civilizing process of the Society was largely an inverted 
one: that of having the son educate the father, of having the child 
serve as example to the man, of having the young ones lead their 
elders along the path of Our Lord— the path that was trod by Euro- 

The culmnim^'^^ or Indian lad, became the accomplice of the 
invader in drawing the bones, one after another, from the native 
culture, in order that the soft portion might he the more readily 
assimilated to the patterns of Catholic morality and European life. He 
became the enemy of his elders, of the pajés, of the sacred cymbals 
and secret societies, of whatever was hard and virile in that cultuie 
and capable of offering a resistance, even if but a feeble one, to 
European compression. It was far from the padres to wish the de- 
struction of the native race; what they desb*ed was to see it at the 
feet of Our Lord, domesticated by Jesus. This, however, was not 
possible without breaking the backbone of that culture and morality 
which was the savage's own, of everything that was imbued with 
beliefs and superstitions difficult of assimilation to the Catholic system. 

•'^"The first stratagem that they 
employed,** writes Father Simão in 
speaking of the Jesuits, **even though 
it had to be accomplished through 
gifts and much petting, was to make 
of the Indian children household com- 
panions; for these latter, being leas ia- 
ailcut ive and more clever than the 
adults, in all the nations of Brazil, are 
more readily indoctrinated, and once 
the children have been indoctrinated, 
they in turn indoctrinate their par- 
ents. This was a stratagem which ex- 
perience has shown to have been 
heaven-sent. . . Once they had 
been gathered in, the Indian young 
ones were taught by the Jesuits to 
'*iead, write, do soma, and aid in 
serving Mass, and were instmcted in 
Christian doctrine as well; and those 
who were the most advanced would 
go through the streets intoning 
hymns, prayers, and the mysteries of 
tne £aith, composed in befitting style, 
with all of which the fathers were 
enormously delighted. . . . The Indi- 
ans came to have an exaggerated opin- 
ion of these young ones, for they re- 

spected them as something sacred; no 
one dared do anything against their 
will, for the others believed what they 
said, and were convinced that some 
divinity had been lodged in them; and 
they even strewed witb boughs the 
roads ak«^ which they paaaed.**— 
Vasconcellos: Cbrânica (cm. dt.), p. 
125.— On this subject Couto ae 
Magalhães writes: "These children, 
when they grew up, were living 
schools, and inasmuch as they pos- 
sessed an equal command of the two 
languages, they were the indiqiensa- 
ble link in bringing the two races to- 
gether."— O Selvagem (op. cit.). — On 
the catechistic and pedagogical meth- 
ods <tf the first Jesuits, read also Piles 
de Almeida: Vlnstruction publique 
en Brésil (Rio de Janeiro, 1889). 

This word, wiiich still exists in 
modern Brazilian speech, has a num- 
ber of forms: ctdimiin; cidiam; 

CUfWmf CUrunttntj CWUrnOmlm Lania 

and Barroso (op. cit.) give cuntmi as 

the preferred form. Tlie word now 
means, in general, a small boy, a lad, 
a servant. (Translator.) 

Copyiiytited material 

The Native in the Brazilian Family 1 65 

The fathers of the Society strove, at times successfully, to turn the 
young ones away from this culture by rendering it ridiculous in the 
eyes of the catechumens. They did this in the case of the witch- 
doctor of whom Montoya tells us. The missionaries had persuaded 
die old fellow, a grotesque and twisted figure, to dance in the pres- 
ence of the assembled young. It was a success. The Indian youths 
thought him absurd and lost the respect they formerly had hàd for 
the sorcerer, who from that time forth had to be satisfied with serving 
the padres as dieir cook.^ 

Possession of the cukmàm signified the preservation, in so far as 
possible, of the native race widiout the preservation of its culture. 
Meanwhile the Jesuits wished to go further and, in the hothouse 
atmosphere of the siscteenth-century schools or the Guarani missions, 
to m^c unnatural individuals out of the aborigines, individuals who 
not only had no bond with the moral traditions of their own culture, 
but who were, in addition, cut off even from the colonial environ- 
ment and the social and economic realities and possibilities of that 
environment. For this reason the educational and civilizing efforts 
of the Jesuits took on an artificial character, and later their system of 
organizing the Indians into missionary villages {^^ aldeias*'') or "mis- 
sions" was unable to hold out against the powerful blows that were 
dealt it by the anti-Jesuit policy of the Marquis of Pombal.*'® 

Even though artificially achieved, the civilizing of the aborigines of 
Brazil was almost exclusively the work of the Jesuit fathers; and the 
result of their labors was the Christianization, if superficial and on the 
crust alone, of a large number of caboclos. 

This process of Christianization, I repeat, was accomplished 
through the Indian ) outh, the culimwiiy who played an extremely 
important parr in the formation of BraziHan society, in the making of 
a Brazil that should be different from the Portuguese colonies in 
Africa, with an entirely different orientation from that of the African 

colonial administrations. Joaquim Nabuco, like £duardo Prado an 
apologist for the Jesuit or, better, the Catholic missionary effort in 
Brazil, exaggerates little when he states: "Without the Jesuits, our 

^''He was an old witch-doctor 
niined leguacaii The padres had him 
dance in die presence of the children, 
who at first were frightened; but 
"little by little their fear passed, and 
finally they all came over to him, fell 
upon him, threw him to the ground, 
tod mncreaced htm in every f adiion.** 

—Montoya, op. cit., p. 250. 

'^Pombal, iron-handed Portuguese 
Minister (1750-77), was die author of 
sweeping reforms. He decreed the In- 
dians free men and provided for 
grants of land to them. The Indian 
villages in 1758 were wrested from the 
power of the Jesuits. (Tianslator.) 

Copyrighted material 

1 66 

The Masters and the Slaves 

colonial history would be nothing other than a chain of nameless 
atrocities, of massacres like those of the Reservations (Reduções);"^ 
there would be roads throutrhout the country such as those that run 
from the heart of Africa down to the markets of the coast, and over 
these roads would pass long rows of slaves." '"^^ 

In Brazil the missionary^ priest made use, chiefly, of the Indian lad 
in gathering from the latter's mouth the m;irerial out of which he 
formed the 1 upí-Guaraní tongue, the most potent instrument of 
intercommunication between the two cultures, that of the invader 
and that of the conquered race. Not only moral intercommunication, 
but commercial and material as well. A tongue which, with all its 
artificiality, was to become one of the most solid bases of Brazilian 
unity. From now on, owing to the formidable pressure of the Jesuit 
missionary's religions imperialism and his tendency to standardize and 
render uniform moral and material values,^^^ Tupí-Guaraní was to 
bring closer together native tribes and peoples^ diverse and distant 
from one another in point of culture and even enemies in dme of 
war; and later it was to bring them all nearer to the European colo- 
nizer. This language, formed by the collaboration of the culumim 
and the padre, was the one employed in the first social and commercial 
relations between the two races. It may be stated that the invaders 
made current use of the language of the conquered people, reserving 
their own tongue for restricted usage and state occasions. When later 
the Portuguese language -always the official one -came to predom^ 
inate over the Tupl, becoming, alongside the latter, the idiom of the 
people, the colonizer by that time had become thoroughly imbued 
with the native jungle influence, his Portuguese had already lost the 
bite and hardness of that spoken in the Kingdom; it had been softened 

"® Redução (plural, Reduções) was 
the term applied to those places 
where the Indian converts were gath- 
ered, more or less forcibly ("re- 
diioeiil"), the Jesuit missionaries. 
The **ii0saKxts** appears to be an al- 
lusion to assaults or aggressions upon 
these reservations by the bandeirantes 
or Paulistas. (Translator.) 

'^Hl Centenário do Venerável 
Joseph de Anchieta (Third Cente- 
nary of the Venerable Joseph de 
Anchieta) (Paris and Lisbon, 1900). 

Ethnologists lament the fact that 
in Brazil "the Church exerted too 
great a leveling influence, blotting out 

the characteristic ethnic traits, traits 
peculiar to so many of the indigenous 
tribes and now extinct or on the 
verge of being extinguished. A 
mighty coireitt swept away every- 
thing that it encountered in its podi, 
spreading uniformity everywhere.'*— 
Emílio Goeldi: O Estado Atual dos 
Conhecimentos sobre os índios do 
BrasiT (The Ptesent State of Knowl- 
edge Regarding the Indians of Bra- 
zil"), in the Boletim do Musen 
Paraense de História Natural e EtJio- 
grafia {Builetm of the Natural His- 
tory and Ethnographical Museum of 
Pará), Vol. II, No. 4. 

Copyrighted material 

The Native in the Brazilian Famly 1 67 

into a Portuguese without double r's or double y's-it had become 
infantile almost, the speech of a child, under the influence of the 
Jesuit's collaboration with the Indian lad. 

The result was an initial duality of languages: the speech of the 
gentry and that of the natives, one the official, upper-class tongue, 
the other popular, for daily use. This was a duality that was toicndure 
steadily for a centiuy and a half and afterwards was to be prolonged 
under another guise: in the antagonism between the speech of the 
whites who lived in the Big Houses and that of the Negroes in the 
slave huts. Out of it all, meanwhile, tíiere was to be left with us a 
linguistic vice which only today is being corrected or attenuated by 
cor latest novelists and poets, and which is represented by the enor- 
mous void that exists between the written and the spoken language, 
between the Portuguese of university graduates, priests, those holding 
a doctor's degree, who are almost always prone to be purists, inclined 
to preciosity and classicism, and the Portuguese that is spoken by the 
people, by the former slave, by children, by the illiterate, the back- 
woodsman, and the sertanejo. The latter is still full of native expres- 
skms. while the speech of the ex^e still glows with an Afncan 

This may be explained by the fact that the conquest of the back- 
lands was achieved in the period when Tupi was the influential or 
predominant tongue. **The contii^;ents that set out from the seaboard 
to make discoveries," writes Theodoro Sampaio, "generally spoke 
Tupi, and it was wkh Tupi names that they desdgnated their fresh 
discoveries: rivers, mountains, and die very villages that they founded, 
which were merely so many new colonies scattered through the 
backlands, colonies whose inhabitants likewise spoke Tupi and who 
naturally took it upon themselves to ^tread the language.^ 

Almost all the animals and birds in Brazil, nearly all the rivers, 
many of the mountains, and a number of domestic utensils have re- 
tained their Tupi names. Father Antônio Vieira (who was so greatly 
concerned with problems having to do with the relations between the 
colonists and the natives), had this to say, in the sixteenth century: 
**In the first place, it is certain that the Portuguese and Indian families 
in ^ão Paulo are today so bound to one another that the women and 
children mingle freely in the home; and the language that is spoken 
in the said families is that of the Indians, while the children go to 
school to learn Portuguese; and to destroy a unity that is so natural, 
or which has become so naturalized, would be a species of cruelty 

'•'Theodoro Sampaio: O Tupi (op. cit.). 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

toward those who have lived together after this manner for so many 
years. I say, therefore, that all these Indians, and Indian women, who 
have so great a love for their so-called masters that they remain with 
them of their own free will— I say that they may do so without any 
obligation other than that of the said love, which is the gentlest of 
captors and the freedom that is most free." ^ 

While in the homes Portuguese and Indians were "mingling 
freely," with the language of the slaves or semi-slaves predominant 
in domestic relations, in the missionary schools the language of the 
natives was being taught and cultivated alongside that of the whites 
and the churchly Latin, and in the pulpits preachers and evangelists 
were making use of the Tupi tongae. *The fathers spoke the language 
of the abor^ines," Theodoro Sampaio tells us; "they wrote for it a 
grammar, compiled a vocabulary, and taught and preached in that 
idiom. In the schools for young boys and girls (the citnmms and 
cunbatains,'^ offering of Indians, mestizos, or whites) both Portu- 
guese and Tupi were ordinarily taught; and in this manner the first 
catechumens, the most suitable ones, were prepared for bringing 
conversion to the paternal hearth." 

It was from the native child, as I have ahready said, that the padres 
gathered the material for the organization of the "Tupi language," 
result of the intellectual intercourse between catechist and catechu- 
men. Through the Indian woman there was transmitted to Brazilian 
culture from that of the aborigines the better part of what remains to 
us of Amerindian values, while from the child there came to us the 
major portion of those moral elements which have been thus cul- 
turally incorporated: a knowledge of the tribal speech, of the various 
fears and superstitions with which the life of the red man was beset, 
and an acquaintance with his sports, games, and recreative dances. 

Father Simão de Vasconcellos enlightens us in regard to the mode 
of intellectual intercourse adopted by the Jesuits in relation to the 
ctikmam. Thus, in speaking of Anchieta, he informs us that the latter 
was "at one and the same time Master and disciple"; and with refer- 
ence to the Indian lads: ''they served him as disciples and Masters"; 
for it happened that the padre, 'Vhile speaking Latin, in the same 
class was taking from the speech of his listeners die major part of the 
language of BmiL" 

incited by Taunay: Hinária Theodore Sampaio: O TupH 

Geral das Bandeiras (op. cit.). (op. cit.). 

The Indian girl, corresponding ^so yida do Venerável Padre Joseph 

to the cuhtmim (curu?m; plural, de Anchieta da Companhia de lesu 
curwmns). Cf. the term for Indian 
woman: cunbi, (Translator.) 

Copyrighted material 

The Nathe in the Brtmlkn Family 


in another sphere, also, the ciilum'wjs were masters: the masters, the 
teachers, of their own parents, of their elders, of their people. They 
were the allies of the missionaries against the medicine-men in the 
work of Christianizing the heathen. Of the first of them to be brought 
by the Jesuits into their schools, the same Father Simão says: "At 
night they would scatter out to the houses of their parents, there to 
sing the pious canticles of Joseph [Anchieta] in his own tongue, in 
place of those vain and pagan songs* that they had been accustomed 
to sing; and so* it was that they who were still disciples became 
Masters. . . ."^^ 

£. Varnhagen comments on the emulation provoked among the 
heathen by the Jesuits with their processions of Christiaiiized yomig 
Indians: "The first of these tamed pâíf ^ having been made acolytes, 
all the other young caboclos were envious of them, and the Jesuits 
made the most of this as their processions filed through the villages 
with upraised cross, intoning the litany, chanting prayers» and gather- 
ing many sheep for the fold; by all of which the parents at times felt 
greatly honored."**' Father Âmérico Novaes has given us an account 
of one of these processions, based upon Southey, in which he pictures 
the scene for us in the liveliest of colors: white-dad children and 
adolescents, some bearing badcets of flowers, others vases of perfume, 
while still others carried censers, and all of them praised Jesus tri- 
umphant amid the chiming of the bell and the rumble of artillery.^ 
Here were the future feasts of the Church, so Brazilian in character, 
with incense, cinnamon leaves, flowers, sacred songs, bands of music, 
fireworks, chiming bells, and vhas to Our Lord Jesus Christ— it was 
all here in embryo in these processions of ctdurmms. This was a Chris- 
tianity that, coming from Portugal and full of pagan survivals, was 
here being enriched with vociferous and sensual notes by way of 
seducing the Indian. Nóbrega came to the conclusion that it was 
through muâc that the naked savage of the American jungle was to 
be drawn into the bosom of the Catholic Church; and through the 
impulse that he gave to music die venerable padre became, says Varn- 
hagen, ''sometbing like a second Orpheus." ^ 

The life of the catechumen was flooded with music The Indian 
youths began singing early in the morning, blessing the names of 

. . . Composta Pello P. Siman de 288 Endearing term for a young In- 

Vasconcdlos . . . (Life of the Ven- dian or caboclo. (Translator.) 

erabU Father Joseph de Ancbieta of F. A. Varnhagen: Histária Gerat 

the Society of Jesus . . . G)mposed do Brasil (op. cit.). 

by Father Simão de Vasconcellos) 290/// Centenário do Venerável 

(Lisbon, 1672), p. X2<S. Joseph de Anchieta, etc. (op. ciu). 

**'lbid.,p. 130. Varnhagen, op. cit. 

1 70 The Masters and the Slaves 

Jesus and the Virgin Mary: "chanting in chorus: 'Blessed and praised 
be the most holy name of Jesus,' while the others would respond: 
*and that of the blessed Virgin Mary, forever, amen.' And then all of 
them together, in the stately Latin of the Church; ^Gloria Patri & 
Filio & Spiritui Sancto, amen.^ " 

But these praisers of Jesus and the Virgin did not limit themselves 
to Portuguese or Latin, but lapsed into Tupi as well. At the sound of 
the Ave Maria, practically all the people would say in a loud voice, 
as they made the sign of the cross: Santa Camçá rangana recê^ and 
then each would repeat in his own tongue the evening prayer. It 
was in Tupi» also, that individuals greeted one another: ÈTiecoêtm^ 
which means "good day." ^ 

Out of this collaboration of the Jesuit fathers and the Indian youths 
Brazilian music and poetry were to sprii^. When later die 
**modinhd'* made its appearance, it still preserved a certain gravity 
from the Latin of the Church, a certain pious and sentimental sweet- 
ness of the sacristy, by way of sugarmg the eroticism, a certain 
mysticism of the padre's school, by way of cloaking a lasciviousness 
tlut was more Afncan than Amerindian. From the fim century, how- 
ever, the astute compromise that was effected between the religious 
or Catholic-hturgical style and the native forms of song was clearly 
to be perceived. "In Brazilian lyric poetry of the era of colonization,** 
notes José Antônio de Freitas, "the Jesuits . . . taught those forms 
that most resembled the songs of the Tupinambás, with refrains and 
the like, seeking in this manner to attract and convert the natives to 
the Catholic faith." And he adds: 'In an age in which popular songs 
were foiludden by the Church, in an age in which the poetic feeling 
of the multitudes was completely suffocated and atrophied, the colo- 
nist by way of giving expression to the longii^ in his soul never tired 
of repeating those sacred compositions that the Jesuits audiorized." ^ 
Thanks to the Emperor, Dom Pedro II, who obtained in Rome a 
copy of the quatrains written by the Jesuits for the young of their 
schools and misáons in Brazil, we are familiar today widi the follow- 
ing one, published by Taunay: 

Vasconcellos, op. cit., p. 130. 
'•'Theodoro Sampaio: O Ttípí 
(op. cit.). 

Modinha-, "formerly, a variety 
of drawing-room ballad, in the ver- 
nacular; today, a variety of urban 
popular song" (Lima and Barroso, op. 

cit.). Modinha is a diminutive of 
madax a "new song," one in the 
mode. (Translator.) 

^i' ' José Antonio de Freitas: O 
Lirimio Brasileiro (Brazilian LyriC" 
is?n) (Lisbon, 1873). 

The Native in the BrasSim Family 


O Virge7n Maria 
Tupan ey êté 
Aba pe ara por a 
Oicó endê yabê. 

Which translated means, according to Taunay: "O Virgin Mary, 
true Mother of God, the men of this world are indeed with thee." 

"The Jesuits," writes Couto de Magalhães, "did not collect the 
literature of the aborigines, but they did make use of their music and 
their religious dances by way of attracting them to Chnsdant^. . • . 
The profoundly melancholy musical airs and the dance were taken 
over by the Jesuits and, with that deep knowledge of the human heart 
which is theirs, were adapted to the feasts of the Holy Spirit, St. 
Gonçalo, Holy Cross, St. John, and Our Lady of the Conception." 

There is another trait that characterized the first relations of the 
Jesuits with the young Indians, a trait that will appeal to one who 
estimates the missionary effort, not with the eyes of an apolc^ist or 
sectarian of the Society, but from a Brazilian point of view, tihat of 
the fraternization of races: namely, the equal treatment that the 
padres would appear to have accorded, in their sixteenth- and seven- 
teenth-century schools, to Indian and Portuguese children alike, Eu- 
ropeans and mestizos, caboclos snatched from their native villages, 
and young orphans who had come over from Lisbon. The chronicles 
do not show any discrimination or segregation due to race or color 
prejudice against the Indians; the regime adopted by the Jesuits seems 
to have been one marked by a fraternal mingling of their pupils. Thus 
the school established by Nóbrega at Bak da Vamhagen was attended 
by children of the colonists, young Lisbon orphans, and the pUs of 
the land.^ Life in diese schools must, then, have been a process of 
coeducation of the two races, die conqueror and the conquered, a 
process of cultural reciprocity between the sons of the soil and die 
young ones of Portugal. The pados of such establishments must have 
been a place where indigenous tradidons met and mingled with the 
European, where there took place an interchange of games and play- 
liiings, of words in process of formation, and mestizo supersririons. 
The young Indian's bodoque, or double-stringed bovv^ for hunting 
birds, the paper kite of the Portuguese children, the rubber ball, the 
dances, etc., here encountered one another. The ''carrapeta^' or Bra- 

>MAffofiso d*E9ccagiiolle Taunny: ^lU Cememrh do Venerand 

S. Paulo no Seculo XVI (São Pomo Joseph de Anebietã (op. de). 

in the Sixteenth Century) (Touts, ^'Vamhagen, op. dc 

Copy I ILJI kCU 1 1 i UlCI lal 


The Masters and the Slaves 

zilian form of top, must have been the result of this childish inter- 
change, as well as the papaya-reed flute and perhaps certain games 
played with coconut shells and cashew nuts. 

It is to be regretted that later, either as the result of a deliberate 
orientation on the part of the missionaries or under the irresistible 
pressure of circumstances, the padres had come to adopt the method 
of rigorous segregation of the natives in "^/i/e/W (missionary vil- 
lages) or missions. Apologists justify this by asserting that the sole 
object of this segregation was to remove the Indians '*from the de- 
moralizing influence of lax Christians." ^ But the truth is that, as a 

«■•J. M. de Madureira, S.J.: A 
Ubenaie dos índios e a Comtfonhia 
de Jesúsy sua Pedagogfa e seus Re- 
sultados (The Freedom of the Indi- 
ans and the Society of Jesus, Its 
Pedagogy and Its Results) (Rio de 
Janeiro, 1927), special volume of the 
Intematioaal Congress of American 
History, Vol IV. 

"As for us," writes Canon Fer- 
nandes Pinheiro regarding the system 
of the Jesuits, "the great mistake lay 
in wholly annihilating the will of the 
catechumens and neophytes and re- 
ducing them to the paltry role of 
perambulating machines. Looking 
upon the Indians as children who 
stood in need of guidance if they 
were not to f aU headlong into abys- 
mal vice, who had need of tutors if 
they were not to dissipate their owti 
substance, the apostolic worthies who 
first called them to the bosom of the 
Church and civilization f dt th^ they 
themselves were the ones who should 
be die guides, and in thb they were 
not wrong. However, carrying fur- 
ther the zeal that they had for the 
spiritual family, they proceeded to 
transmit so ^reat a power as this in- 
tact to dieu: successots» forgetting 
riiat it was bv its very nature a 
precarious one and suited only to the 
first phase of transition from a savage 
to a civilized way of life. Henoe 
arose the abase that we have men- 
tioned{ henoe it was that the Indian 
never possessed autonomy, never 
thought of shaping his conduct in ac- 

cordance with his own inspirations or 
(tf assuming the respcmsibuity for hb 

actions; and hence, finally, came the 
total destruction of the work of the 
catechism, which had appeared to be 
prospering in so lively a fashion, the 
moment the supporting arm of the 
Jesuit was withdrawn."— Introduc- 
tion to Chronica da Companhia de 
JesiiS do Estado do Brasil, etc., by 
Father Simão de X'^asconccllos (2nd 
edition, Rio de Janeiro, 18Ó4). Read 
the same author's ''Essay on the Jes- 
uits" in the Revista do Instituto His- 
tórico e Geográphico Brasileiro, Vol. 
XVIII.— To be read alongside those 
essays on the Jesuits that are more or 
less impregnated with apologetic fer- 
vor are the ones by Joaquim Nabuoo, 
Eduardo Prado, and Theodoro 
Sampaio; see also: Brazilio Machado: 
/// Ccnteonário do Venerável Joseph 
de Anchieta (Paris and Lisbon, 1900); 
J. P. Calógeras: Ot Jesmtas e o Bnshto 
(The Jesuits and Education) (Rb de 
Janeiro, 191 1); Eugénio Vilhena de 
Moraes: ^^Qual a Influência dos Jes- 
uítas ein nossas Letras?'''' ("What has 
Been the Influence of the Jesuits in 
Our literature?). Revista do Instituto 
Histórico e Geogrâplnco Brasileiro, 
special volume, Congress of National 
History, Part V (Rio de Janeiro, 
191 7). For one of the few attempts at 
historical criticism, see the '^Apunta- 
memos para a História dos Jesuiuts, 
Extrahidos dos Chronistas da Com- 
panhia de Jesus'^ ("Notes for the His- 
tory of the Jesuits, Extracted from 

Copyrighted material 

The Nathe m the Brasálian Family 1 7 3 

consequence of the separation of the catechumens from social life, 
they became an artificial population, living apart from the colonial 
one, a stranger to the latter's necessities, its interests, and its aspira- 
tions; it was a population of grown-up children in a state of paralysis, 
men and women incapable of autonomous life and normal develop- 
ment. Nor did the fathers of the Society, once they had been trans- 
formed into masters of men, always remain faithful to the ideals of 
the first missionaries; many of them, on the contrary, lapsed into that 
mercantilism in which the violent Marquis de Pombal was to discover 

When the period that Pi res de Almeida regards as the heroic age 
of Jesuit actiivit)^ in Brazil had passed, a number of the missions be- 
came little more than export warehouses, dealing in sugar and drugs, 
but chiefly in mate in the south and cacao in the north. This to the 
prejudice of the moral and even the religious culture of the natives, 
who were now reduced to a mere instrument for commercial ex- 
ploitation. General Arouche, who in 1798 was named Director Gen- 
eral of Indian Villages in Brazil, was to accuse the missionaries— the 
Jesuits as well as the Franciscans— "of promoting the marriage of 
Indians with black women and men, baptizing the offspring as 
slaves/' aoo yi^g fegj. q£ ^j^g gooá fathers must have slipped again: they 
muse have gelded to the de%hts of the slave traffic just as they had 
to the pleasures of commerce. Had they not done so, they would not 
have been good Portuguese, possibly even good Semites, whose tradi- 
tional tendency to trade and barter was not modified beneath the 
Jesuit's cassock nor by die vows of a seraphic poverty. 

It may be added duit, fleeing not only segregation and a sedentary 

the Chroniclers of the Societ\^ of 
Jesus"), Revista do Instituto Histó- 
rico e Geográphico Brasiteiro, Vol. 
XXXIV (Rio de Janeiro, 1871), by 
Antonio Henriques Leal. This au- 
thor, incidentalh', was the first to 
recognize the difficulty of "critically 
reflecting" upon the work of the Jes- 
uits, inasmuch as '*tliey themselves 
are die writers in the case and, as a 
consequence, there is a large amount 
of partiality and lack of verisimili- 
tude."— On the organization of labor 
in tlie Jesuit missions in Bnml, see L. 
Captain and Hoiri Lorin: Le Travail 
en Amérique avant et après Coloinb 
(Paris, 1930), Book IV, Chapter i. 
The recent works of Father Serafim 

Leite on the history of the Society of 
Jesus in Brazil are rich in valuable 
data; it is to be noted, however, that 
die material is presented from the 
point of view of an apologise for die 

300 Jose Arouche de Toledo Rendon: 
^Memória sobre as Aldeias de índios 
da Província de São Paulo** ^Memoir 
on the Indian Villages of the Province 
of São Paulo"), Revista do Instituto 
Histórico e Geográphico fírasileiro, 
VI.— João Mendes, Jr.: Os Indígenas 
no BrasU-^Seut Direitos Indêviduaif 
e Politicos (The Natives of Braztl— 
Their Individual and Politicai Rigl9ts) 
(São Paulo, 191 2). 

1 74 The Masters and the Slaves 

mode of life, but the violence of the civilizers as well, practiced upon 
them even in the missionary villages,*"^ many of the Christianized 
natives made for the jungle, "without a thought," says Arouche, "of 
the women and children they were leaving behind. . . This 
was a situation that was to grow more acute when, once the powerful 
civilizing mechanism of the Jesuits had been dismounted, the Indians 
found themselves, on the one hand, in the light of the morality that 
had been imposed upon them, under the obligation of supporting their 
wives and children, and, on the other hand, faced by economic condi- 
tions that made it impossible for them even to support themselves. 
The exploitation of the native worker had been so systematized, to 
the benefit of the whites and the Church, that out of a daily wage of 
lOo reb the Indian of the missions received but the miserable sum of 
33 reis a day.^^ What happened then was that many a Christianized 
caboclo family was broken up from lack of an economic base of sup- 
port. Under such circumstances (bearing in mind the misery to which 
many of the artificially organized Christian homes had been reduced), 
the infantile death-rate increased and the birth-rate at the same time 
decreased, not alone from "lack of propagation," but as the lesuk of 
the abortions that, in the absence of husbands and fathers, were prac- 
ticed by women in whom the Christian scruples having to do with 
adultery and virginity had become decayed**'^ Whence it may be 
seen that the Jesuit system of catechizing and bringing civilization, 
by imposing v^on the natives a new family morality without first 
settii^ up a permanent economic base, led to an aricificial form of 
labor incapable of surviving the hothouse atmosphere of the missions 
and thereby contributed greatly to the degradatioa of die race it 
was supposed to save. It led to Brazil's being depopulated of its own 
autochthonous folk. 

The methods connected with the mere capture of the native, not to 
speak of his later segregation and the forced or excessive labor at 
which he was put, on the plantations or in the missi<ms, hastened this 

'The manny of the religious in 
the missioiv' writes Joao Lucio de 

Azevedo, "was perhaps not less than 
that of the master on the plantation." 
And he goes on to say: "there is no 
doubt that certain of the fathers were 
not as charitable as they should have 
been toward the neophytes. For slight 
oifenses they would have them 
flogged or imprisoned; nor were even 
the chiefs, whom the prestige of their 

authority should have saved, exempt 

from humiliating punishments.— Of 

Jesuítas 710 Grão-Para, suas Missões e 
a Colonização {The Jesuits in Grão- 
Para, Their Missions and [the Process 
of] Colofttzatwn) (znd edidoo, 
Coimbra, 1930). 

Arouclw: Memoria (op. cit.). 
8O8 Ibid. 

•••João Lúcio de Azevedo, op. cit. 

Copyrighted material 

The Native in the Braúlian Family 1 7 5 

depopulatkm ia an infernal manner. Th^ were methods accompanied 

by a great loss of life, possibly gieater man in the capture and trans- 
port of Africans. Speaking of the expeditions carried out in the Ama- 
zon r^on by way of supplying slaves or "help" {administrados) for 
tbe pUmtations of Maranhão and Pará, João Lúcio de Azevedo tells 
US that when these undertakings were successful, "only half arrived 
at their destination; one can imagine what happened in die case of the 
odiers." ^ And the historian reminds ns of these words of Vieira: 
"Howeyer many they enslaved, there were always more who died. 
... A contributing factor here," he goes on to explain, "was the 
labor that the slaves had to perform on the plantations, especially the 
sugar plantatíons, ndiidi was too heavy for Indians unaccustomed to 
such continuous and back-breaking toil. In addidon to the diseases 
that these inferior races alwa3rs acquire upon contact with the whites, 
the ill treatment they received was a cause of iUness and death, not- 
withstanding the hws against it that were repeatedly promulgated. 
Widi rqiard to tlie torture to whicb diey were subjected, we have 
but to remember that it was the common pracrice to brand the cap- 
tives with a hot iron in order to distinguish them from the freedmen, 
and also to enable their masters to recognize them." 

The wars waged by the Portuguese, with an obvious technical 
superiority on their side, by way of repressing or punishing the In- 
dians likewise had much to do with the depopulation of the native 
stock.'''^^ The victors not infrequently displayed their superiority over 
the vanquished by tying the latter to the cannon's mouth and "scat- 
tering to great distances their dilacerated members." Or else they 
would inflict upon them tortures taken from classical antiquity and 
adapted to conditions in the wilds of America. One of these methods, 
which had been employed by Tullus Hostilius, consisted in typing the 
victim to two fiery horses, then releasing the animals in opposite direc- 
tions. In the far north of Brazil this horrible "punishment" was modi- 
fied by substituting for the horses a couple of canoes to which the 
Indian was bound; the canoes being paddled away from each other, 
the unfortunate one's body was torn in two.**^ In Maranhão and in 

«w Ibid. 

•*^Thc depopulatioa would appear 
to have been enormous. It is difficult 
to state exactly what the aboriginal 
population of Brazil was at the time 
ol the disooverv, but there is evi- 
dence to the effect that it was rela- 
ttvely dense, **at least," as Azevedo 

says, *'ofi die seaboard and along the 
banks of the rivers.'* The same point 

is made by M. Bomfim: O BrasU na 
América (op. cit.). 

Azevedo, op. cit. 

Chronica da Companhia de 
Jesus pelo Padre Jaehtto de CmMo, 
manuscript in die Évora Library, in 
Azevedo, op. cit 

uopyiighiea inaiuiial 

1 7 6 The Masters and the Slaves 

Pará^^*^ the cruelties practiced upon the natives were no less than 
those inflicted upon them by the Paulistas in the south. These latter 
had come to take upon themselves the "wars against the Indians" as 
a sort of macabre specialty .^^^ The very government itself, as a means 
of raising funds for the building of churches,^^^ would engage in the 
rapsoming, or it might be the sale, of Indians who had been captured 
and brought from the backlands to the plantations under such condi- 
tions that only a half or a third of them arrived at the end of the 

Speaking of the e£fects of Indian slavery in Maranhão, João Lúcio 
de Azevedo informs us that the colonists, ''absolutely given over to 
the exploitation of the Indian, were unable to do anything without 
him." This in the second century of colonization. The same was 
true in the first century. The plantation-owner was a parasite on the 
Indian, and was in turn preyed upon by the royal functionary. The 
two of them were equally adept at the "conjugation of the verb rapio" 
to quote the words of the preacher in his celebrated sermon on 

Everything depended upon the slave or the "help," whose good 
right arm was "the only wealth, the sole objective toward which die 
ambitions of the colonizers were directed." And even this was a 
wealth that was readily corruptible owing to the unhygienic efFects 
upon the slave of the new mode of life. The stationary and continuous 
labor and the diseases acquired through contact with the whites or 
dirough the forced or spontaneous adoption of their customs— diseases 
such as syphilis, smallpox, dysentery, and catarrhs— were working 
havoc with the Indians, impairing their blood-stream, their vitality, 
and their energy. 

Memórias sobre o Marani^ 
{Menunrs on Maranhão)^ by Father 
José de Moraes, in A. J. de Mello 

Moraes: Chorographia (Chorograpby) 
(Rio de Janeiro, 1859); João Fran- 
cisco í,isboa: Tb)ion (op cit.); 
Arouche: Memória (op. cit.); Father 
Antônio Vieinu Obras Várias (Mis- 
ceUaneous Works) (Lisbon, 1856-7); 
Agostinho Marques Perdigão Mal- 
heiro: A Escrividão no Brasil (Slavery 
in Brazil) (Rio de Janeiro, i8ó6); J. 
J. Machado de Oliveira: **Noticia 
Raeiocmada sobre as Aldeias de I»- 
dios da Trovindã de São Paulo ("Ra- 
tionalized Account of the Indian Vil- 
lages in the Province of São Paulo"), 

Copyrighted material 

in die Revista do Instituto Histórico 
e Qeográphico Braaleiro, Vm. 

Perdigão Malheiro, op. cit. 
WJ. F. Lisboa: Trmon (op. cit.). 

Azevedo, op. cit. 

The preacher in question was 
Father Antonio Vieira; see the edition 
of his sennons by J. M. C Seabra 
and Q. Antunes: Sermões^ (Lisbon, 
1854-6). (Translator.) 

The word in the original is 
administrado; literally, one who is 
"administered" or governed. (Trans- 

KAntdiiio Viein, cioed by Aze- 
vedo, op. cit. 

The Native in the Brazilia?i Family 177 

From São Paulo we have a document of 1585: **This land is in 
such straits that there is not to be found food to buy, an unheard-of 
thing up to now, and all this by reason of the fact that the inhabitants 
do not have the slaves to plant and harvest their crops." And wc 
further learn that "in the 1580's a temble epidemic of dysentery 
killed oíT thousands of captive Indians . • . more tlian two thousand 
head of sUve& . • 

These new diseases tlie Indians were inclined to attribute, and not 
without some reason, to the Jesuits. In certain places the nadves would 
bum pepper and salt as an exorcism when die padres drew near.*" 
It was all in vain, however. The slave-holding system on the one hand 
and the missionary on the odier continued their work of radal devas- 
tation, even though it proceeded more slowly and was less cruel in 
character than in Spanish America or among the English in North 
America. And there were creative aspects to be set over agamst the 
destrucdve ones. 

The tendency, representing a quasi-biological differentiation, of 
the Portuguese toward slavery -a differentiation that Keller compares 
to that of certain ants studied by Darwin found in the American 

Indian an easy prey. The number of Indians possessed by a colonist, 
whether under the name of "pieces" or disguised as '^''adimnistradoSy^ 
came to be an index of his power and social standing; these slaves be- 
came the capital with which he installed himself on the land (the 
value of the land itself being secondary). At the same time, each 
"piece" took the place of commodities or money; for debts were paid 
and provisions acquired with slaves or by "ransoming." Copper- 
colored coins were later to be substituted for these "pieces of Guinea" 
—in reality, fleshly coins, all of them, coins that, being readily cor- 
ruptible and subject to decay, constituted an uncertain, an unstable 
variety of capital. It was, accordingly, natural that the economic 
policy should be one marked by a greed for slaves, for Indians, for 
human beings that could be exchanged like coins; and it was likewise 
natural that this capital should have to be renewed, as old age, sick- 

•i^Taunay: São Paulo no Século 
XVI (op. cit.) 

[*n[Vo dnusand head": the oiig»- 
nal has **duas ?ml peças,^^ two thon- 
gand "pieces" (see below). (Trans- 

Vasconcellos: Chronica (op. 
cit.), p. 65. 

Keller writes, of the Portuguese: 
"They were so given to the slave- 

system that they could no longer pro- 
vide for themselves. A biological dif- 
f erentíatkm of functions, as it were, 
had left them, like Darwin's slave- 
making ants, in a sort of parasitic re- 
lation to a subject race." — A. G. Kel- 
ler: Colonization (New York, 1908). 

*>(»Se« the Acts <tf the Ghiniber of 
São Paolo. 

Copyrighted material 

178 The Masters ofkl the Slaves 

ness, and failing strength produced their devastating effects upon the 
frailty of human flesh that at times had to take the place of the 
strongest metals. "The expenditure of human life here in Bahia these 
past twenty years (1583)," says one Jesuit cited by Taunay,^-^ "is a 
thing that is hard to believe; for no one would believe that so great a 
supply could ever be exhausted, much less in so short a time." It was 
expended in labor, through abuses, in transport; it was expended in 
passing from one master's hand to another, like an inanimate object 
or a beast of burden. Alluding to the transition from the native slave 
to the one from Guinea (who, as we shall see funher on, was to end 
by bearing almost alone, without the Indian's aid, the burden of labor 
on the jxlantations and. in the mines), Father Gurdim tells us that the 
plantation-owners were constantly in debt for the reason that "many 
slaves" died on their hands.^^^ And the most killii^ labor of ail, per- 
haps, was that connected with the raising of sugar-cane. 

That the Indian slaves, as later the Africans, from the earliest dmef 
in JBiazil, were the capital with which the whites aec themselves op, 
many of the latter having come here without any resources whatso- 
ever, is indicated by the following passage from Gandavo: "If a 
person comes to this land and contrives to get hold of a couple of 
them (even though he has nothing else that he can call his own), he 
then has a means of honorably supporting his family; for one of them 
will fish for htm, another will hunt for hmi, and the others will culti- 
vate and harvest his plantings; and in this way he is at no expense for 
food, dther for them or for his famity and himself." And Father 
Nóbrega makes It still more clear: 'Those who come here find no 
other means of livelihood eicept through the labor of sbves, who fish 
for them and go in search of food; and so greatly are they ruled 
sloth and so given are diey to sensual things and vices of various kinds 
that they h^ no fear of being exc rnnninnicafe d for possessiiig the 

The woik demanded by the colonist of the Indian slave oomiited 
in felling trees, trannortii^ the timber to the ships, harvesting creps^ 
hunting, fishing, defending his masters against eiiemy tribes «id for- 
e^ oorsaus; and guiding acgkam through the virgin jungle. The 
al>oninne was now findiiig wlttt servile labor meant. He was no longer 
the free savage that he had been in the dq^ befofe the Wemgaam 
colonizers came; but still he had not as yet been uprooted from his 

História Geral (Utt Bandeiras Gandavo, op. cit. p. 1 19. 

Paulistas (op. cit.). ^Nóbrega: Cartas, op. citnp. no. 

Gardjm, op. dt., p. 320. 

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The Native in the Brazilian Family 1 79 

physical and moral environment, from- his primary, his elementary 
hedooiràc from hutting, fishing, making war, and from a 

mysric, one might say a sportive, contact with wateis, wood, and ani- 
mals. This uprooting was to come widi an agrarian -that is to say, a 
latifundiary-form of colonization; it was to come with monoculture, 
represented chiefly by sugar. It was sugar that IdUed the Indian. It 
was to free him from me tyranny of the plantation that the missionaxy 
s^rcegated hini in villages, another method, if a less violent and more 
siMe one, of exterminating the Brazilian native: by preserving him 
in brine, but not allowing him to preserve his own proper vbâ aa- 
tonomous lif e. 

The Indian, ill adapted to the needs of the new form of agrarian 
labor, became enveloped in the sadness of the introvert, and it was 
necessary that lus place be taken by the Negro, who, with his youth- 
ful, tense, vigorous energy, his extroversion and vivacity, stood in 
marked contrast to the American savage. Not that the Portuguese of 
the sixteenth century encountered here a race that was weak and 
soft, incapable of any greater exertion than that of hunting birds 
with a bow and arrow and swimming lakes and deep rivers; the state- 
ments of the first chroniclers are all to the contrary. Léry emphasizes 
the great physical vigor of the aborigines, in felling enormous trees 
and carrying them to the ships on their bare backs.^^"^ Gabriel Soares 
describes them as individuals "well made and well set up"; Cardim 
stresses their swiftness and endurance on long journeys by foot; 
and the Portuguese who first surprised them, naked and naive, on the 
shores discovered by Pedro Alvares speaks with enthusiasm of their 
robustness, their health and comeliness: "like birds or wild animals 
. . . their bodies could not be any cleaner, plumper, more vibrant 
than they are. . . This robustness and health he does not forget to 
associate with the mode of life and the diet followed by the savages, 
with the "air"— that is to say, the open air— "in which they grow up," 
and with "the yams, of which there are many here. . . . They do not 
till the earth nor breed cattle, nor are there here any oxen, any cows, 
any goats, any sheep, any hens, or other animals of any kind of the 
son that one is accustomed to find about the habitations of men; nor 



"'Léry, op. cit., pp. 122-3. shapely legs, small feet . , . individ- 

Soares, op. cit., p. 306. He adds: uals 0/ great strength." 

. « good tMth, null and whStit, *>t Gudtm, op. dL 
none of dicni ever deeiyed • • • 



The Masters and the Shaves 

all this, they are far more sleek and sturdy than are we for all the 
wheat and vegetables that we consume." *^ 

If the Indians with such an appearance of good health broke down 
once they had been incorporated into the economic system of the 
colonizer, this was for the reason that the passage from a nomadic to 
a sedentary way of life, from sporadic to continuous activity, had 
been too abrupt for them; it was due to the fact that their metabolism 
had been disastrously modified by the new rhythm of economic life 
and physical exertion. Nor did the cará and the fruits of the earth any 
longer suffice for die diet of the savage subjected to slave labor on the 
sugar plantations. As a result, the Indian was to prove to be a sorry 
worker and an indolent one, and the Negro had to be substituted for 
him. The latter, coming out of a state of culture superior to that of the 
American native, was to show himself better adapted to Brazilian 
needs, to the necessity of intense and sustained phyacal exertion, as a 
stationary agricultural worker. He was a being of a different kind, 
adapted to agriculture. M(»«over, his diet was to undergo little change 
in Brazil, many of the edible plants of África having been transplanted 
here, such as the kidney bean, the banana, and the okia; just as, from 
the Portuguese idands in the Atlantic, oxen» sheep, goats, and sugars 
cane were brought to America. 

So far as the aborigine's culture was concemed, it was, so to speak, 
the feminine part that was to be saved. As a matter of fact, in its more 
complex tedmical organization that culture was ahnost wholly femi- 
nine, the man confining himself to hunting, fishing, rowing, and mak- 
ing war. Acdvities of value, but of secondary worth for the new 
economic organization, an agrarian one, set up by the Portuguese in 
these American lands. What the Portuguese system basically needed 
was the worker with a hoe for the sugar plantations. A woricer firmly 
attached to die soil and settled in his mode of life. 

In die case of cultures with interests and tendencies that were so 
antagonistic, it was natural that contact between them should result 
to the disadvantage of each. Only a special combination of drcum- 
stances in the case of Brazil prevented the Europeans and the natives 
from becoming deadly enemies, before they had come together as 
man and wife, as master and disciple, a form of contact that was to 
lead to a cultural degradation through processes that were more 
subtle, marked by a slower rhythm, tlian in other parts of the con- 

Goldenweiser calls attention to the fate of the Mongols subjected 

328 Pero Vaz de Caminha: Letter pnblished by Maauel Ayzes de Cazal: 
Cborograpbia Brasilica (op. cit.). 

Copyriyi iicu I : i ulCI lal 

The Native in the Brazilian Family 1 8 1 

to Rus^an rule; and the same goes for the Amerindians, the natives of 
Australia, Melanesia, Polynesia, Africa -always the same diama: the 
backward cultuies disintegrating beneath the yoke or pressure of the 
more advanced ones. What kills oif primitive peoples is the loss^ as it 
were, of their will to live, the loss of an **inteiesc • . • in thdr own 
values," as Goldenweiser puts it,"^ once their environment has been 
altered and the etjjiuUbrium of dieir lives has been broken by civilized 
man. Of the primitives of Melanesia, W. H. R. Rivers had previously 
written timt they were "dying- from lack of interest." Dying of 
**banzo^ ^ of melancholy. Or sometimes they even kill diemsdve^ 
like those Indians whom Gabriel Soares observed going about widi 
emaciated and swollen bodies: the devil hadappearãtothemuidset 
them to eating eardi until they died. 

Even so, of all the American countries Brazil is the one where native 
culture values have been saved to the largest extent. Portuguese im- 
perialism—the religious imperialism of the padres, the economic im- 
perialism of the planters-from the time of its first contact with the 
indigenous culture, struck the latter a death-blow. It did not strike 
it down suddenly, however, with the fury displayed by the English 
in North America, but gave it time to perpetuate itself in the form of 
a number of useful survivals. Although a perfect intercommunication 
between its cultural extremes has not been achieved in Brazil -ex- 
tremes that are still antagonistic and at times explosively so, clashing 
with one another in such intensely dramatic conflicts as that of 
Canudos— none the less, we may congrauilate ourselves upon an ad- 
justment of traditions and tendencies that is rare among peoples whose 
social formation has taken place under the same circumstances of 
modem imperialist colonization in the tropics. 

The truth is that in Brazil, contrary to what is to be observed in 
other American countries and in those parts of Africa that have been 
recently colonized by Europeans, the primitive culture—the Amerin- 
dian as well as the African— has not been isolated into hard, dry, in- 
digestible lumps incapable of being assimilated by the European social 
system. Much less has it been stratified in the form of archaisms and 
ethnographic curiosities^ but rather makes itself felt in the living, use- 
ful, active, and not merely picturesque presence of elements that have 
a creative effect upon the national development. Neither did the 
social relations between the two races, the conquering and the in- 

Alexander Goldenweiser: "Race ^ao Rivers, in Goldenweiser, loc. cit. 

and Culture in the Modem World," Term applied to "the mortal 

JounuU of Social Forces^ VoL m, Nck nostalgia <^ iãrícuk Nqnoes.''--IJiiifl 

I (November 1924)9 PP> i>7-0* ^ Buraso, op. cit. (Trandatnr.) 

Copyrighted material 

The Masters and the Slaves 

digenous one, ever reach that point of sharp antipathy or hatred the 
grating sound of which reaches our ears from all the countries that 
have been colonized by Anglo-Saxon Protestants. The friction here 
was smoothed by the lubricating oil of a deep-going miscegenation, 
whether in the form of a free union damned by the clergy or that of 
regular Christian marriage with the blessing of the padres and at the 
instigation of Church and State. 

Our social institutions as well as our material culture were suffused 
with Amerindian infliienre, as later with that coming from Africa. 
Even our laws were contaminated by it, not directly, to be sure, but 
subtly and indirectly. Our "juridical benignity" has been interpreted 
by Qovis Beviláqua as a reflex of the African influence.^ A certain 
characteristically Brazilian mildness in die punishment of the crime 
of theft possibly reflects the special compromise that the European 
had to make with the Amerindian, the latter being almost wholly in- 
sensirive to the norion of this crime by reason of his commimisQc 
mode of life and economy.*** 

There are a number of characteristic complexes in our modem Bra- 
zilian culture that are purefy, someomes strikingly, of Amerindian 
origin: the hammock; manihot; tlie river bath; the cashew nut; the 
^^mcbo^; ^ccmara}^ or the burning over of the land; the ^Hgan^* (small 
boat or canoe); **fnoquem^ or the toasting of fish over the coals; the 
turtle; the hodoque^ or double-stringed bow for shooting clay pellets 
at birds; wild-coconut oil; the **caboela*s hut*'; Indian com; die habit 
of resting or defecating while squatting on one's heels; *** die gourd 
used as a container for flour; the porringer4>owl; the coconut drink- 
ing-cup; etc. There are others that are chiefly of native origin: the 

^ Qted by J. Izidoro Martins, Jr.: 
Histâria do Dkeito Nacional (His- 
tory of National Lav>) (Rio de Ja- 
neiro, 1895). 

In what he terms "internal pub- 
lic law" among the aborigines, Bevila- 
cua finds "almost no repression of 
theft ... a tribal conunonisin with 
an absolute absence of territorial 
jurisdiction/* penalties inflicted upon 
women for adultery, as a matter of 
reprisal, family vengeance, etc ''Insti- 
tmções e Costumes Juridieos dot In- 
digenas Brasileiros no Tempo da Con- 
quista^ ('^Juridical Institutions and 
Customs among the Brazilian Aborig- 
ines at the Time of the Conquest"), 
in Martins, op. etc 

Euclides da Cunha mentions the 
tettaneje^t oonstBiit habic of aqoattnig 
down on his heels to xesc a moment, 
to converse with someone, or to light 

his cigarette: "And if in the course of 
his walk he pauses for the most com- 
monplace of reasons, to roll a cigarro, 
strike a liff ht, or chat wkh a frieiid, he 
faUs— 'fam* is the word^into a sqaat- 
ting position and will remain for a 
long time in this unstable state of 
equilibrium, with the entire weight 
Of his body sospended on his gieat 
toes, as he sits there on his heels widi 
a simplicity that is at once ridiculous 
and delightful."— Oj- Sertões, i6th 
edition, pp. 1 14-15; Rebellion in the 
Backlams, p. 89. 

Copyrighted material 

The Native in the Brazilian Family 1 8 3 

habit of going barefoot; ^ ^moqueca'' or fish stew; the use of red 
paint; pepper; etc. This is not to speak of tobacco or of the rubber 
ball, which is in univeisal use and which is of Indian, probably Bra- 
zilian Indian derivation. 

The influence of Amerindian culture is also to be seen in the 
custom, which is very Brazilian, especially in the interior of the oonn» 
try and in the sert&o, of keeping die women and children ooc of the 
s^ht of strangers. This, as pdnted ont by Karsten,*"* is doe to the 
bdief that th^ are more exposed than men to evil spirits. Amoi^ the 
caboclos of the Amazon region, Gastão Cruls recently noted that the 
women and children are always "sheltered from the gaze of stran- 

This native custom was adopted 
by the first colonists. Referring to the 
colonists and to the padres, Anchieta 

writes: "It is the custom of the coun- 
try to go barefoot, and they do not 
find labor so grievous as in Europe, 
and Úm is true of the richest and 
most honored of the land."— /wfor- 
mações e Frag?ne7itos do Padre Joseph 
de Anchietãy S.J*, 1^84-1586 (op. cic). 
•••Op. cit. 

••^Gastio Cmk, op. dr.— Silvio 
Rooiero and João Ribeiro thus sum 
up the Amerindian contribution to 
Brazilian culture: To the Indians our 
people of today owe— especially in 
diose regions where the greatest 
amomie m radd crossing took place, 
as is the case in the center, ilie north, 
the east, the west, and even in the 
south of the country— much of their 
knowledge and many of the imple- 
ments havii^ to do widi hundittK and 
fishing; various edible wid medicinal 
plants; many of the words current in 
our language; many local customs; a 
few phenomena of popular rnythol- 
ogy; a number of plá>eian dances; 
and a ciMtain influence upon anony- 
mous poetry, particularly in connec- 
tion with the cycle of cowboy ballads 
{romances de vaqueiros) quite com- 
mon in the backlands region of the 
north, in the famous drought zone, 
between Paraguaçú and Pamaiba, the 
aadenc fadwuand ol die Gariris.*'— 

Compêndio da HistdrU da Lkeratura 

{Compendium of Literary History) 
(2nd edition, rev^ued, Rio de Janeiro, 


Ajffonso Cláudio, in his paper on 
The Three Races in Colonisl Soci- 
ety—the Social Contribution of Each 
One," states that in the formation of 
Brazilian society the aborigine con- 
tributed: (i) his arm, which was one 
of the iiiiplements of colonial labor; 
(2) an aoquaimanoe widi the streams 
in the interior of the country, streams 
that he navigated, and with the for- 
ests that bordered them, where he 
was always the guide on industrial 
and scientific expeditions and reli- 
gions missioiis; (3) the dxvulgatioa of 
diose vegetables and their products 
suited to alimentary purposes, such as 
manihot flour, the drink known as 
cauiin and the vessel that contained it 
{caiuba\ nuts and wild dies mutt; 
(4) the process of extracting from 
roots, fruits, oils and leaves, lianas, 
and flowers tlierapeutic properties 
unknown to Europeans; (5) instruc- 
tion in the handling of tlie haw and 
arrow, the lasso, and traps for Ashing 
and hunting, such as the 7mmdéu, the 
fojOj the jequiáy along with the proc- 
ess of catching fish with poison 
(tmgtã)i (6) words from his dialecti- 
cd vocabulary to designate things foe 
whidi there are no eofxeqponding ex- 
pressions in die Pamigocas and AM- 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

cm Umguages; (7) instruction In tbe 

preparation of the coivara^ the steer- 
ing of canoes on rivers and lakes, the 
manner of carrying them over rapids 
and waterfalls; (8) the appUcatkm to 
domestic use and for purposes of 
clothing of textile fibers, lianas, and 
taquara cane; (9) the weaving of 
hammocks for sleeping and of fishing- 
nets, the mode of fashioning the tu- 
com-palm nee, and the use of the fish- 
ipear or harpoon; (10) the method of 
preparing ticuna (curare) or curape.*' 
—Revi it a do Instituto Histórico e 
Geográphico Brasileiro^ Special vol- 
mne, VoL m (1927). 
Amoog other Ti^^ words that have 

been preserved la our language, 
Theodore Sampaio mentions the fol- 
lowing: arapuca (bird-trap), pereba 
(abscess or ulcer), sapeca (a drub- 
bing), embttuetr (to nonplus some- 
one or to be nonplused), tabaréu 
(back-oountryman), pipoca (grain of 
corn roasted in the fire), tetéia (a 
"nice" person or thing), and caipira 
(inhabitant of the open country, 
rustic), ali in current use in Brazil^ 
"5. Vaulo de Piratininga no Fim do 
Século XVr ("São Paulo de Pirati- 
ninga at the End of the Sixteenth 
Century"), Revista do Instituto His- 
térico e Geoff&pbico Brasileiro, VoL 

Copyrighted material 



Various points that I touched upon lightly in the first chapter 
of this book I shall here treat with greater emphasis, by way of por- 
traying the figure of the Portuguese colonizer of Brazil. A vague 
figure, lacking in the contours and the color that would individualize 
him among modern imperialists. In certain respects he resembles the 
Englishman, in others the Spaniard. A Spaniard without the warlike 
flame or the dramatic orthodoxy of the conquistador of Mexico and 
Peru; an Englishman without the harsh lineaments of the Puritan. 
The compromiser type. With no absolute ideals, with no unyielding 

The terrible slave-driver, who came near transporting from Africa 
to America, in filthy vessels that could be recognized from afar by 
their stench, an entire population of Negroes, was, on the other hand, 
the European colonizer who best succeeded in fraternizing with the 
so-called inferior races. He was the least cruel in his relations with 
his slaves. This, it is true, was in good part owing to the impossibility 
of setting up a European aristocracy in the tropics; the human capital 
was insufficient; if there was no shortage of men, white women \\ ere 
few in number. But independently of the lack or scarcity of women 
of the white race, the Portuguese always was inchned to a voluptuous 
contact with the exotic woman. For purposes of racial crossing, 
miscegenation. A tendency that appears to have been due to the 
greater social plasticity of the Portuguese as compared with any other 
European colonizer. 

No one was less rigid in contour, less harsh in the lineaments of 
his character. Which accounts for the fact that he lent himself to so 
many and such profound deformations. It is not any "black legend" 
such as that huge, sinister one that confers prestige upon, even as it 
blackens, the figure of the Spanish conquistador -it is not any legend 
of this sort that envelopes the Portuguese colonial, but rather a cBng- 
ing tradition of ineptitude, stupidity, and salaciousness. 

Deformation of the naturally Gothic, vertical countenance of the 


1 86 The Masters and the Slaves 

Casrilian lesolted in the £1 Greco-ish type.^ A morbid elongatioiL 
An "ironlike austerity^ exaggerated to tne point of cmdnr. Pride 
that has become quixotic rodomontade. Bravery become bravado. 
But with the angular nobility of the whole preserved. Deformation in 
the case of the Portuguese, on the other hand, was úwvys in a hori- 
zontal direcckm. A ftneening out. A roundii^ out. Flesh exaggerated 
into fat. His economic realism rounded out into mercantilism, avarice, 
a crude materialization of all of life's values. His cult of the dark 
Venus, as romantic in origin as that of his blonde virgins,* disfigured 
into a vulgar eroticism: the fury of a Don Juan of the slave huts be- 
come a reprobate chaser of Negro women and girls. 

It is not through a study of the modem Portuguese, so spotted with 
decay, that one may succeed in forming an exact and balanced idea 
of the colonizer of Brazil— the Portuguese of the fifteenth and six- 
teenth centuries, his energies still verdant, his character debased by no 
more than a century- of corruption and decadence. This it was that 
led Keyserling to conclude that he was essentially a plebeian and to 
deny him, almost, the quality of an imperial people. But even if this 
plebeianism were characteristic of the Portuguese of today, it cer- 
tainly was not true of the Portuguese of the fifteenth and sixteenth 
centuries. Without ever achieving the aristocratic refinement of the 
Castilian, he anticipated the European bourgeois. But his precociously 
bourgeois character was to suffer in Brazil a serious set-back in view 
of the physical conditions of the country and the state of native cul- 
ture; and the people that, according to Herculano, had hardly known 
feudalism ' was to retrogress, in the sixteenth century, to the feudal 
era, by reviving aristocratic methods in the colonizing of America, 
Something like a compensation or rectification of its own history. 

The colonization of Brazil proceeded aristocratically— more than 
in any other part of the Americas. In Peru there must have been a 
greater scenographic brilliance, more of formal ostentation and of the 
accessories of European aristocracy. Lima came to have four thousand 
carriages rolling through its streets, and within theni, magnificent and 
useless, hundreds of Spanish grandees. Forty-five families of marquises 
and counts alone. But where the European colonizing process asserted 
itself as essentially aristocratic was in the north of Brazil. Aristocratic, 
patriarchal, slave-holding. The Portuguese here made himself master 
of lands more vast and men more numerous than any other American 

^Qree^: litenlly, *^ Geeoo- Portugal, op. cit.; CotUtWfêfnãt 0 

ith." (Tnndator.) Estudos históricos {Controversies and 

3 See Chapter i, p. 12. Historical Studies) in the tefist Qfát' 

*Akxaadre Hercalano: História de culos (Lisboo, iSS;). 

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The Portuguese Colonizer 


colonizer. Had he been essenrially plebeian, he would have failed in 
that aristocratic sphere in which his colonial dominion in Brazil was 
to develop. He did not fail, but instead founded the most modem 
civilization in the tropics. 

There is much to be discounted in die pretensions to greatness on 
the part of the Portuguese. Since the end of the sixteenth century he 
has lived parasitically on a past whose splendor he exaggerates. Imag- 
ining that his stature is dinunished or n^ted by foreign criticism, he 
has arrificialized himself into a Portuguese-for-English-eyes,* but the 
English have been the most perspicacious of all in portraying him 
from the life, restoring to him his precise contour and oolormg. Some 
of them have done so in admirable books, such as those of Beckford 
and BdL odiers in stupidly realistic drawings or waterookirs like diose 
of Kinsey, Bradford, and Murphy. Akeady in the sixteenth century 
Buchanan was satirizing him in Latin verses. Satirizing the mercantile, 
rather than imperial, grandeur of his King: 

Thou art the incompgnAle tMsHafdan^ 
The Algarvio ^ of here and beyond the sea, 
Arab, lyidian, Persian, and man of Qumea; 
Great lord of Africari lands, 
Of Congo f Manicongo, and Zalofo, 

And then, prophetically anticipating die disastrous effects of official 
mercantilism, die British man of letters continues: 

But if, some day, before the king of names 

War or the sea, intlamed vdth fury, should arise 

And shut his pepper shop. 

Well may he feed himself upon that fame 

Won by his traffickings in lands across the deep! . . . 

He mil be ^weighted down with debts. 

Or die of hunger.* 

And this was what happened, once the Asiatic souroea of opalence 
had been shut off. Far from resigning itself to the honest poverty of 
a nation fallen into decay— as later Holland was to do when, after 
being mistress of a vast empire, she devoted herself to the maldng of 
cheese and butter-Portugal, after Aka»er Quibir, went on imagining 

* Português-para-inglês-ver. Patriarch of Lisbon, published in 

" Inhabitant of the province of Al- his excellent study, O Humanismo 

garve; comes to mean a boaster. em Portugal— Clenardo {Htananism 

*Tlie Pbrtuguese veidon given by in Fonu^'-Clenardm) (Goimbfa, 

Fnjie is from the translation by M. 1986)." (Tiandilor.) 

Qooçilvet Gerajeka, **toáãy Gsidinal 



The Masters and the Slaves 

itself to be the opulent land of Dom Sebastiano's lifetime. It went on 
feeding upon the fame acquired by its overseas conquests. Went on 
deluding itself with an imperial mysticism that no longer had any 
base. Went on poisoning itself with delusions of grandeur. "They 
sing the praises of Lisbon with such an abundance of words as to 
make it appear equal to the principal cities of the world, and for this 
reason they are accustomed to say: 'He who hasn't seen Lisbon hasn't 
seen anything worth seeing.'" So wrote Trom and Lippomani, the 
Venetian ambassadors, at the end of the sixteenth century. And they 
add: "The lower classes love to be addressed as 'Senhor,' a custom 
that is common throughout Spain.'* ' 

From the sixteenth century down to the present time the Portu- 
guese has more and more tended to simulate those European and im- 
perial qualities which he possessed or incarnated for so brief a period. 
The Portuguese people live by making themselves believe that they 
are powerful and important. That they are supercivilized in the Euro- 
pean manner. That they are a great colonial power. Bell observes of 
the Portuguese at the beginning of the twentieth century that their 
ideals of national aggrandizement continue to vary between "the con- 
struction of a fleet" and "the conquest of Spain.'* ® Switzerland might 
go on condensing its milk and Holland making its cheeses, but Portu- 
gal continued to stand on tiptoe in an e£Fort to appear to be one of the 
great European powers. 

For such exaggerations as these Keyserling, with his impressionistic 
method, is unable to make sufficient allowances; instead he reduces 
the Portuguese to a people without any greatness whatsoever: a nation 
something like an Andorra or a San Marino. An operatic republic 
where all the men go about addressing one anodier as "Doctor" and 
"Your ExceUency." He diminishes the importance of the creative role 
they played in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, as manifested not 
alone in the technique of navigation and shipbuilding, but in the bold- 
ness of their discoveries and conquests, in the wars that they waged 
in Africa and India, in their rich travel Uterature, and in their ãi- 
dency as imperial colonizers. The only thing diat he leaves them in 
the way of originality is dieir popular or plebeian music and die great 
hatred that they have for the Spaniard A hatred that is likewise 

It was this hatred or antagonism toward the Spaniard that made 
and kept the Portuguese an autonomous being. An independent one. 
But rather than this hatred for the Spaniard which Keyserling 

■'Alexandre Herculano: Opúsculos * Aubrey F. G. Bell: Portugal of 
(op. cic.)* the Portuguese (op. cit.). 


The Portuguese Colonizer 

stresses, there was another, perhaps deeper and more crearive, 
that had its effect upon the character of the Portuguese, predisposing 
him to nationalism and even to imperialism. This was his hatred for 
the Moor. Practically the same hatred that was later to be manifested 
in Brazil in the wars against the buggers* and the heretics. Chiefly 
the heretics-the common enemy against whom dispersed and even 
antagonistic energies were united. Jesuits and planters. Páulistas and 
Bahuns. Without this huge common scarecrow, a ^'consciousness of 
the spectes" ^ would posably never have been evolved among groups 
so d&tant from one another, so lacking in political ties, as were the 
first foci of Lusitanian colonization in diis country. Moral and politi- 
cal unification was in good part achieved through the solidarity of die 
different groups against heresy, a heresy now incarnated by the 
Frenchman, now by the Englishman, and now by the Dutch; at times 
simply by the bugger. 

There was repeated in America, among the Portuguese scattered 
over so vast a territory, the same process of unification that had oc- 
curred in the peninsula: Christians against Moors. Our Indian wars 
were never wars of whites against redskins, but of Christians against 
buggers. Our hostility to the English, French, and Dutch always had 
the same character of a religious prophylactic: Catholics against 
heretics. The padres of Santos who in 1580 treated with the English 
corsairs of the Minion did not manifest against the latter any harsh 
rancor, but were mild-mannered toward them. Their hatred, to re- 
peat, was prophylactic. It was a hatred of sin and not of the sinner, as 
a theologian would say. The sin, the heresy, the infidelity that could 
not be permitted to come into the colony. It was not a hatred of the 
foreigner as such. It was the infidel whom they were treating as an 
enemy in the person of the aborigine, and not the individu^d of a 
different race or color. 

Bryce touches upon this religious direction in the social formation 
of Hispanic America. "Religion has been in the past almost as power- 
ful a dissevering force as has racial antagonism," he writes, adding: 
"In the case of the Spaniard and the Portuguese, religion, as socm as 
the Indians had been baptized, made race differences seem insignifi- 
cant." £specially-he might have said-in the case of the Portuguese, 
who were still less consdous of race than were the Spaniards. The 

®Seep. 124. (Translator.) University, Professor Franklin Gid- 

^^I make use here of the well- dings, 
known sociological expression creatied Junes Bcyoe: South America'- 
by my former teacher at Columbia Obserwitíans and Jmpressiam (Lon- 
don, 191 1 ). 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

latter had a greater sense of CathoUc orthodoxy than the Portuguese, 
a sterner feeling with regard to punishment; but in either case there 
remained from the struggle against the Moois a prophylactic hatred 
of the heretic. 

At bottom this religious purism, like the most modern and char- 
acteristically Anglo-Saxon or Teutonic purism of race, almost always 
originates in and feeds upon economic antagonisms. Nothing other 
than economic in essence were diose wars between the Christians and 
the Moors out of which was to come the ardent nationalism of the 
Portuguese. If I consider the matter from the religious aspect, it is " 
that we are here less concerned with essential motives than with 
mystical form. João Lúdo de Azevedo has observed: "In the recon- 
quest the principal basis was not religion, nor was it race." " And in 
his study of '^Economic Organization" he strikes the same note: in 
the wars of teoonquest Moors and Christians were indiscriminately 
dispossessed and enslaved. As a consequence: "Christians at times 
fought against those of their own faith, alongside the Saracens, thus 
defending the possession of their property and their freedom." It may 
be stated that in these cases dispossession and enslavement resulted 
to the advantage not so much of the old Hispano-Rooians as to that 
of certain elements that were "in origin foreign to die soil* as much 
as the Saracens could possibly have been."^ 

A large majority of these elements were new to the peninsula; th^ 
were foreign-comers. Blond adventurers out of the nordi who todc 
advantage of the wars or crusades against the infidek to set themselves 
up as a propertied dass, thanks to the pleasing legend of Christian re- 
conquer The truth is diat this adventurons dement very often found 
its initid capitd in die Mozarabic war-caprive, who was, of course^ a 
Christian; and it was the catde, land, and other possessions of diese 
coreligionists, as well as those of the infidels, that they appropriated. 

It is on ^ mysoc-rdigioos dde, however, that die leoooqoflst 
movement takes on definite form. As a movement of Christians against 
unbelievers. "When it came to applying a designation to the inhabitant 
of the peninsuh who was free of the yoke of Isbm, there was but 
one, that of Chrisntms^ Alexandre Herculano tells us** in speaking 

^ João Lúcio de Azevedo: "Algti^ ^ Azevedo: "Organização Econôm- 

mas Notas Relativas a Pontos de cta^^ in História de I'onugalj ed. mon- 

Histária SociaT ("Some Notes Rda- ntnenttl, VoL m (Barcelos, 193 1). 

tive to Points of Social History**), m ^ Introductum to O Bobo {Tbe 

Miscelânea de Estudos em Homena- Buffoon), era ol Dona Theieci, iiaS 

gem de D. Carolina Michaélis de (IJsboii, i897)« 
Vasconcellos (^Miscellaneous Studies 
m Homagt to • • . ) (CldnilMra, 1930). 


The Portuguese Colonizer 191 

of the vatring epoch diat preceded the organization of the Porta- 
guese and Spaniards into nations. *'The epithet that indicated the form 
of belief was representative of nationality." This was true onty after 
the people had become politicaOy defined; bat meanwhile the lãigioas 
bond or imprint was not wholly lost, at least not for long oentoriea 
after the reoonqaest. 

The popular ea^iressicm, today an ironic one: ^Vâ queixara ao 
Bispo^' ("Go tell It to the Bishop") -an expression employed after 
appeals to the polke, die government, and ooarts of jvmct have been 
eznansted-*» a survival of the old idea, historically imbedded in the 
peninsular mind, tliat ecdesbsdcal prestige was greater than that of 
the civil authorities. Especially in Spain. In Braal this prestige was 
not to be so great. The conditions attendant upon colonization, 
created by the political system of hereditary capitânias and main- 
tained by the economic regime of allotments and large-scale agricul- 
ture, were decidely feudal in character; and if there was an attitude 
of superiority to governments and the King's justice, it was shown 
in the abuse of the right of asylum on the part of the big plantation- 
owners; the blame did not lie with the cathedrals and monasteries. 
The criminal or fugitive slave who sought the aid of a planter was 
certain of being freed from the wrath of courts and the police. Even 
if, in captivity, he was merely passing in front of the Big House, he 
had but to cry out: "Help mc, Colonel So-and-So," and cling to the 
gate or one of the near-by posts; just as in Portugal, in the old days, 
the criminal who took refuge in the shadow of the churches escaped 
the rigor of royal justice. 

The Portuguese churches went so far as to become a scandal in the 
matter of the protection they accorded to criminals, thereby antici- 
pating the abuses of the paoiarchal plantations of Brazil. The planta- 
tion owned by Dona Francisca do Rio Formoso in Pernambuco, for 
example, and that of Machado da Boa Vista in Bahia.^^ 

In the sixteenth century, canonical discipline combined with die 
royal authority (Affonso V) in restricting the conditions of asylum 
in the Portogoese churches; just as later in Brazil, the Emperor, Dom 

"Colonel" (coronel): title applied 
to plantation-owneisi cf.. our Ken- 
tuonr oolood." On die "coikmdi^ in 
the land of cacao, in Modicm Bshis, 
dnrn^ the turn-of-the-century cacao- 
msh, see Jorge Amado: Terras do 
sem fim (The Violent Land), passim, 

^•Dona Joaquina de Pompeo, of 
Paracatú (Minas Geraes), would ap- 
pear to hsve been of die eune mmiF 
archal mold, so to fpeak, as Dona 
Francisca do Rio Formoso (who was 
one of the Wanderley family). Dona 
Joaquina was the mistress of great 
estates and, when her husband ful ill, 
bcGnna die '^nm of die boon/* 



The Masters and the Slaves 

Pedro II, was to attempt to limit the omnipotence of the planters, who 
very often sheltered assassins. Through the limits imposed on the 
churches in seventeenth-century Portugal we are afforded a glimpse 
of the disorderly conduct that went on inside them, on the part of 
those who had sought shelter there. These refugees would stage feasts, 
would stand in the doorway or in the churchyard strumming their 
guitars, would gamble and indulge In obscene talk, and would make 
contacts with women of shady character. The boldest of them would 
eat, drink, and sleep on the high altar itself. 

In Brazil the place of the cathedral or church, more powerful than 
the King, was taken by the plantation Big House. Our society, like 
that of Portugal, was shaped by a solidarity of ideals or religious faith, 
which with us made up for the laxness of political or m3r5tic ties and 
the absence of race consdousness. But the church that affected our 
social development, serving to articulate our society, was not the 
cathedral widi its bishop, to whom diose disabused of secular justice 
might have resort, nor was k the Isolated church, standing alone, nor 
the monastery or abbey to which criminals might flee and where die 
destitute might go for a few crumbs of bread. It was die planodon 

chapeL We did not have a clericalism In BraziL The fathers of the 
Society of Jesus made a start In this direcdon, but their efforts went 
up in smoke when the padres were overcome by the oUgardiic 
nepotism of die big landownets and masters of slaves. 

The Jesuits felt from the beginning that the planters were their 
great and terrible rivals. But the other clergy, includmg the friars, 
grew big-bellied and soft m fulfillmg the funcdons of chaplains, ec- 
cleslasdod tutors, priestly uncles, and godfathers to the young ones, 
and they proceeded to accommodate diemselves to the comfortable 
sttuadon of members of the family or household, becoming allies and 
adherents of the patriarchal system. In the eighteenth century many 
of them even lived In the Big Houses. This, Indeed, was contrary to 
the counsek of the Jesuit Ándreoni, who perceived In this Intimacy 
a danger that the padres would bec<Hne subservient to the lords of the 
manor, and the peril, also, of too much contact— he does not state this 
clearly, but hints at it— with Negro women and mulatto girls. As he 
saw 1^ the chaplain ought to conduct himself as a "member of God's 

"These limits were imposed by an idea of the abuses in questioa. See 

AflFonso V, in accordance with ca- die enserpc from the Constituições 

nonical law. From the Constitutions quoted by A. A. Mendes Corrêa: 

of the Bishopric of Porto, laving A Nova Antropologia Cri??2inal (The 

down coodicions of churchly asylum N eiv Criminal Antler opology) (Pono, 

dwt were not eo mfld, we may form 193 1). 

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The Portuguese Colonizer 


household, not that of another man"; he ought to dwell alone, out- 
side the Big House; and he ^ould have as his servant some old Negro 

woman.^^ This was a norm that would appear to have been but rarely 
followed by the vicars and chaplains in colonial times. 

In certain interior regions of Pernambuco there are malice-inspired 
traditions that would attribute to the plantation chaplains of old the 
useful, if not at all seraphic, function of procreators. Over this point 
we shall have to tarry later on, and, I trust, without malice or in- 
justice toward die Bnudlian cleric of the days of slavery. If, when not 
wearing a Jesuit's cassock, he was never noted for his asceticism or 
his orthodoxy, he always distinguished himself by his Brazilianism. 
Throughout a certain epodi the torch of culture and of dvic con- 
sciousness was in his hands, until the bachelors of arcs and doctors of 
the law came to take the lead, under the protection of Pedro II. The 
latter, everything goes to show, would have preferred the title of • 
doctor to that of emperor; he would have preferred the scholar's 
gown to the cloak with the toucan's maw.^' 

In the absence of a feeling or consciousness of racial superiority 
such as is so prominent in the English colonizers, the Brazilian fell 
back upon the criterion of faith. In place of his blood-stream, it was 
his faith that was to protect him against any taint of infection or con- 
tamination with heresy. He made of his orthodoxy a condition of 
political unity. But this criterion of prophylaxis and selection, so 
legitimate in the light of the ideas of the time, is not to be confused 
with the eugenic standard of modem peoples; it is not to be confused 
with pure xenophobia. 

Handelmann makes of the Portuguese colonizer of Brazil almost a 
xenophobe by nature.'^ But the colonizer's antecedents contradict 
this, and the history of Lusitanian law— in this respect the most liberal 
of European codes— constitutes a denial of it. That body of law was 
so liberal that there never figured in it a provision whereby the State 

might seize the property of foreigners who had died within its bounds, 
to the exclusion of heirs and legatees (the law of albmagio) \ nor one 
by which the State might deduct a quarter part of the possessions of 
dead foreigners when the property in question was sent out of the 
country (the law of detração)\ nor one by which the kings and lords 
of the land might take possession of the persons and cargo of vessels 
shipwrecked on the high-seas or on rivers (law of naufrapo^ or ship- 

^® André João Antonil (João An- The Imperial cloak. (Translator.) 

tonio Andreoni, S.J.): Cultura e ^ História do Brasil {op, cit,). 
Opulência do BrasU, eta, edited by 
Affooso de £. Tamay (opb cic)^ p. 80. 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

wreck). Portuguese law began, not by stifling and treading under- 
foot the ethnic minorities within the realm -the Moors and the Jews 
—along with their traditions and customs, but by recognizing the 
right of these minorities to rule themselves by their own laws; it even 
permitted them magistrates of their own, as later was done in colonial 
Brazil in the case of the English Protestants. 

In the Ordinances of Affonso (Ordenações Afonsinas)^ which 
Coelho da Rocha in his Ensaio sobre a História da Legislação de Por- 
tugal (Essay on the History of Legislation in Portugal) and Cândido 
Mendes in his Introduction to the Code of Philip (Código Filipino) 
stress as having been the first complete compilation of its kind 
throughout all Europe since the Middle Ages -in these Ordinances, 
based upon letters royal and the customs of the country, we may 
discern the tendency to concede privileges to the Moors and the 
Jews. A tendency that in the Ordmances of Emanuel (Ordenações 
Manuelinas) yields to the pressure of religious prejudice, by that time 
inflamed, but never gives way to pure xenophobia. So true was this 
that the advantages there granted to foreign Catholics were afterwards 
pleaded in court by the nationals of the country tlieniselves. The 
explanation lies in the fact that the scruj^le agamst the Mooes, as 
later the separatist movement that resulted in independence, was 
favorable to that cosmopolitanism which was developing in the Por- 
tuguese character, alongside of and in harmony with a precocious 
nationalism. Consequentiy neidier of the two hatreds or antagonisms 
—directed at the Moor in one case, at the Spaniard in die other— can 
be blamed for having led the Portuguese alons the inferior path of a 
restricted nationalism, by shrinking and conmiing his national spirit 
and causing his character to bristle widi shards of ^ass against each 
and every comer.** 

In the absence of great natural or physical frontiers to protect tiiem 

Rodrigo Octávio says: "It must 
be set down to the liberal legislative 
spirit of the litde Kingdxm that 
tne rights of aUthupo and d«tnh 

ção [properrv'-seizurel never existed 
there."— D/rt'/io do Estrangeiro no 
Brasil {Laws Affecting the Foreigtier 
hi Brazil) (Rio de Janeiro, 1909). 
And Ponces de Miranda: "In Portu- 
guese law we never meet with the 
right of albinagio . . . nor that of 
naufrágio^ authorizing kings and lords 
to take possession of persons and 

cargo in vessels wrecked at sea or on 
the rivers; nor do we find a law of 
leprâals.**— F0iif0f e EvobiçBo do 

Dtreito Civil Brasileiro (Sotírces and 
Evolution of Brazilian Cfvi/ Law) 
(Rio de Janeiro, 1928). 

**The allusion here is to Brazilian 
owners of semi-urban estates, who 
were in the habit of putting shards of 
glass on top of the walls surrounding 
dieir property. (Translator.) 

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The Portuguese Colonizer 195 

against aggression or absorption, the Portuguese were under the 
necessity of defending themselves by walls of living ilesh against Mus- 
sulman impenalism and, later, that of Castile; but in this very effort to 
make pure human resistance or tension supply the lack of almost any 
kind of geographic defense-any great river or mountain range-they 
availed diemselves of the aid of f ore^ers. In the Crusades, as in the 
wars of independence, this was very evident, and this it is that ex- 
plains not only Portuguese nationalism, which is practically without 
a geographic base, but Portuguese cosmopolitanism as well. Â cosmo- 
politanism largely favored, it is true, by the geographic situation of 
the Kingdom: that of a prevailingly maritime country which from re- 
mote rimes has had a great variety of human contacts. On the one 
hand, it has recehred upon its shores successhre waves, or, more fre- 
quently, driblets, of maritime peoples. On the other hand, its naviga- 
tors, fishermen, and merchants have gone to f ordgn shores and for- 
eign waters to do their fishing and their scenting-out of new markets. 

It was not long after 1 1 84, JoSo Lúcio de Azevedo believes, that 
commercial relations between Portugal and Flanders must have be- 
gun, while those with England date from the opening years of the 
thirteenth centurv% And there were also "merchants who went to 
Levantine ports, designated in the language of the epoch as overseas 
ports." ^ In the time of Dom Diniz, Portuguese vessels, some of them 
enormous for the period, of more than a hundred tons, were fre- 
quenting the northern ports and those of the Mediterranean. Porto 
intensified its maritime and mercantile activity, and in 1230 its 
burghers succeeded in getting themselves exempt from mihtary serv- 
ice in connection with the conquest of Algarve by "contributing 
money for the purpose." From this it may be seen how precocious 
was the effect that a commercial cosmopolitanism was having upon 
the formation of Portuguese society. Cosmopolitanism and finance, a 
bourgeois mercantilism. 

It is, thus, to the "non-Hispanic" elements, as Antonio Sergio puts 
it, foreign elements of diverse origin, that we must attribute the failure 
of Castile to incorporate the western portion of the peninsula, "where 
the commerce of northern Europe met that of the Mediterranean."-^ 
It was the foreign elements of the population at this dubious and im- 
pressionable point of confluence between northern and southern 
Europe and the Levant that were responsible for the dissemination of 

João Lúcio de Azevedo: Ofgoi»- Antônio Sergio: A Sketch cf tbe 

ização Económica'' (loc. cit.). History of Portugal (op. cic) 

Azevedo, loc. cit. 


The Masters and the Slaves 

cosmopolitan and separatist, maritime and commercial tendencies, 
tendencies that soon were to evolve into impetuous forces making for 
differentiation and autonomy. 

The precocious ascendancy of the martime and commercial classes 
in Portuguese economy and politics was a result, likewise, of the 
extraordinary variety of seafaring and mercantile stimuli. In the be- 
ginning the great agents of differentiation and autonomy were the 
Crusaders, northern adventurers who, in the earldom of Portucale, 
set themselves up as a military and territorial aristocracy. One of 
them even became a founder of the monarchy. But this element was 
afterwards to form a conservative stratum, inclined out of economic 
class interest to a reunion with Gistiie. It was then that the differen- 
tiating and autonomist activity, and native or patriotic sentiment as 
well, came to be concentrated in the maritime and mercantile cities. 
In Lisbon. In Porto. Among the bourgeoisie and the popular classes. 
According to Alberto Sampaio and Antonio Sérgio, it is from the 
beginning of Portuguese national life that the antagonism between 
the commercial class of the maritime cities and the landed aristocracy 
of the center of the country really dates.^*^ As this economic class 
antagonism grew sharper, accentuating the divergence between rural 
and seafaring interests, the kings, in a desire to free themselves of any 
kind of aristocratic pressure upon their royal power, were inclined to 
adopt a policy that favored the commercial bourgeoisie and the people 
of file cities. The laws promulgated by Dom Fernando in the way of 
protecting maritime commerce and encouraging naval construction; 
die support given to the Master of Avis against the territorial aristoc- 
racy; the conquest of Ceuta~all these are mitiatives and movements 
diat reflect the precocious ascendancy of the bourgeoisie in Portugal. 

The discovery of Brazil is to be placed within the framework of the 
great maritime and commercial program inaugurated by Vasco da 
Gama's voyage. The colonization of the vast American land, however, 
represented a departure from the mercantile-bourgeois norms of the 
Bxst century of Portuguese imperialism; it represented a revival of 
methods of aristocratic and agrarian autocolonization such as had been 
applied in Portugal itself to the territory reconquered from the Moors. 
Brazil was like a club ^ that is played in a game where diamonds are 

2® Alberto Sampaio: Estudos His- 
tóricos e Económicos (Historical and 
Econoviic Studies) (Lisbon, 1923); 
Antonio Sergio, op. cit. 

''The Portuguese word for the 

card known as a club is pait, which 
also means "wood." Early Brazil was 
looked upon as the land of brazil- 
wood, dyewood, etc. (Translator.) 


The Portuguese Colonizer 197 

trumps. It was a disappointment for an imperialism that had begun 
with Vasco da Gama. Hence the flabb\ , disinterested, spineless man- 
ner in which the crown received into its dominions the lands of dye- 
wood discovered by Pedro Alvares Cabral. It was only in the new 
phase of Portuguese activity -the colonizing phase, properly speak- 
ing, at the end of the sixteenth and covering a part of the seventeenth 
century-tfaat Brazil was to have the strength of a tmmp card in the 
game of imperialist competition between die European nations. This 
transformation was due to the value that sugar suddenly took on in 
the aristocratic and boui^eois markets of Europe. Sugar became an 
object of luxury, sold at die highest of prices, affording an enormous 
profit for producers and middlemen. Even unrefined brown sugar, 
notes Dampier, when he was in Bahia at the end of the seventeenth 
century, upon being exported to Europe was worth around twenty 
shillings the hundredweight.^ 

We are not interested in this essay, however, save indirectly, in the 
economic or political aspect of the colonization of Brazil. Directly, it 
is the social alone that holds an interest for us. And there is no social 
antecedent that it is more important to consider in the case of the 
Portuguese colonizer than his extraordinary^ wealth and variety of 
ethnic and cultural antagonisms and his cosmopolitanism. 

Brazil did not inherit from Portugal the supposed lack of freedom 
for the foreigner that some have discerned in the Lusitanian coloniza- 
tion of America. The policy of segregation in Brazil was only in- 
spired, in the seventeenth and above all in the eighteenth century^, by 
the envious greed for gold; what previously had appeared to be xeno- 
phobia was merely a policy of sanitary defense, as it were, on the part 
of the colony against heretical infections. 

Once the colonization of Brazil had been begun through the efforts 
of the Portuguese, the blood of many European peoples-Englishmen, 
Frenchmen, Florentines, Genoans, Germans, Flemings, Spaniards— 
was freely mingled with that of the official colonizer. I have given the 
English first mention for the reason that they stand out in greater re- 
lief as representative of that Protestant heresy which was as odious 
in the eyes of sixteenth-century Portuguese and Spaniards as are 
trachoma, Negro blood, and Bolshevism in those of the North Ameri- 
can bourgeoisie of today. The presence of Englishmen among the 
first colonists at São Vicente shows that, when free of the suspicion 
of heresy, they were fraternally received. Coreal tells us that, in 

28 William Dampier: Voyages . . . HoUande, ó^Q fait m 1699 (transia^ 
aux Terres Australes, à la Nattvette tion) (Amsterdam, 1705). 

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içS The Masters and the Slaves 

speaking one day with a narive of Santos,^ he mentioned the fact 
thar he had served with the English filibusters, whereupon a shudder 
immediately ran over the man, who inquired more than thirty times 
if Cereal were not, certainly, a heretic; and despite all assurances to 
the contrary, the Santista could not resist the impulse to sprinkle with 
holy water the room in which they were.*** On the other hand, wc 
meet with the Englishman, John Whithall, who was perfectly at home 
among the first Brazilian colonists. We find him wnting from Santos 
a letter to his fellow countryman Richard Stapes, in England, that 
shows us clearly the liberality with which foreigners in the Portu- 
gese colony in America were treated. Whithall thanks God for hav- 
mg given hun so large a portion of honor and abundance of all things. 
And, content with having become a subject of Portugal in Brazil, he 
adds: "now I am a free denizen of this country." He married the 
daughter of "Signor loffo Dore," a native of the city of Genoa, who 
for his part had set himself up in princely fashion in Brazil, being in 
a position to present his son-in-law with a plantation, along with sixty 
or seventy slaves. And just as later the name of Henry Koster was 
to become in Portuguese Henrique da Costa, so John Whithall's be- 
came Leitão: ^ "Here in this countrey they have called me John 
Leitoan: so that they have used this name so long time that at this 
present there is no remedie but it must remaine so." " 

Before Whithall, other Englishmen had been in Brazil, engaged in 
trade or in quest of novelties: Robert Renigar and Thomas Borey in 
1540; a certain Pudsey in 1542; Martin Codceran and Wilfiam 
Hankins in 1530 and 1532. Hanldns, according to the chroniclers of 
die period, took back to Eng^d with him an Indian chief from 
Brazil and created a great sensation by presenting him to die King 
and court*^ The poor nmrubixbay however, was not able to hold out 
and succumbed— whether to the cold or the horrible English cookings 
we do not know. 

The fact of nationality or race in itself did not prevent an^ English- 
roan or Fleming from being admitted to Portuguese colonial sodeiy 
in sixteenth-century America. All that was necessary was that he be 

20 In the state of São Paulo; the in- 
habitants of this town were known 
as santistas, (Translator.) 

'^CotetHf ctced by Affonso de E. 
Taunay: Non Ducor, Duco (op. cit.). 

81 The author of Travels in BrassU 
(op. cit.). (Translator.) 

**The name corresponds to the 

Engh'sh Suckling. (Translator.) 

3^ The Principal Navigatiom Voy- 
ages Traffiques and Discoveries of 
the En^isb Nation , , .by Richard 
Hakluyt (op. cit.), Vol. VIÍI, p. 16. 

^*The Principal Navigatiom, etc, 
VoL VIII, p. 19. 

Copyrighted material 

The Portuguese Colonizer 199 

a Roman Catholic or that he be disinfected of his pestiferous heresy 
by holy water, that he be baptized and profess the Roman, Catholic, 
and Apostolic faith. This is what we find Thomas ÂviDdnson doing, 
aged twen^-six; Thomas Ptett, aged thirty-two; Patrido Guatnsmiis, 
aged twenQr-seven; Thomas Perking, aged forty-eight; all of them 
"Englishmen of die nation," who had appeared before the father of 
the Society of Jesus charged by the Bishop of Pernambuco, Frei Luis 
de Santa Thereza, with tibe taác of absolving the excommunicated of 
heresy.** The Church was a spedes of dismf ectant ciiamber at the 
service of the colony's moral health, a ho^tal where souk remained 
in quarantine. 

Handelmann stresses die point that die chief diing necessary in 
order to acquire a land grant in Brazil was to profess the Catholic 
religion.*® Whithall must either have been a Catholic or else have 
joined the Church before marrying Adorno's daughter; just as Gaspar 
van der Lei, before marrying into the Mello family, in Pernambuco, 
had to embrace the religion of his bride, the daughter of a rich planter. 
In the case of the Dutch gentleman, it is true, his compatriots went on 
muttering that he was a doubtful and uncertain fellow; for they could 
never forgive the illustrious founder of the Wanderley family in Bra- 
zil for having gone over to the side of the Portuguese and popery. 

The liberality with which the foreigner in Portuguese America was 
treated in the sixteenth centurv is evident to us. This is a liberality 
that goes far back, to the very roots of the Portuguese nation. It is 
not a matter of any virtue that has descended from the heavens upon 
the Portuguese; it is the quasi-chemical result of the cosmopolitan and 
heterogeneous background of this maritime people. 

Those who would divide Portugal into two countries, one blond 
and aristocratic, the other brown-skinned or N^oid, which would 
be the plebeian one, are ignorant of the true meaning of Portuguese 
history, where we find a constant alternation of hegemonies, not only 
of races, but of cultures and «dasses as well, widi now one and now 
anodier predominating. The near-permanent state of war in which 
the nation lived for long years, situated as it has been between Africa 
and Europe, gave it a volcanic social constitution that is reflected in 
the warmth and plastici^ of the national character, of its classes and 
institutions, which are never indurated or definitcdy stratified. The 
state of conquest and reoonquest, of flux and reflux, never permitted 
the establishment in Portugal of any h^emony, unless it was one of 

Aianuscxipc in the Ardiivcs of die Archeological Institute of P^mamboca 
**Handelniann, op. cit 



The Masters and the Slaves 

the moment. No exclusivism—unless oficiai or superâcial-of race or 

of culture. 

Predisposed by its gcogr^iphic situation to he the point of contact, 
of transit, intercommunication, and conflict hctween diverse ele- 
ments, whether ethnic or social, Portugal in its anthropology as in its 
culture displays a great variety of antagonisms, some of them in a 
state of equilibrium, others in conflict. These latter are merely the 
undigested portion of its history; the major part is seen to be harmom- 
ous in its (xmtrasts, forming a social whole that, in its plastic qualities, 
is characteristically Portuguese. 

We shall discover this ethnic and cultural heterogeneity in die re- 
mote origins of the Portuguese people. As to paleolithic man in 
Portugal, we do not possess enough knowledge regarding him to 
enable us to state definitely what his origin was: European according 
to some, African according to others. Mendes Corrêa admits the first 
hypothesis in the case of the Chellean-Acheulean but considers it 
doubtful in the case of the Mousterian.'^ Here we are afforded a 
glimpse of that indecisive position between Europe and Africa which 
the peninsula has occupi^ from the earliest times. This is an Inde- 
cisiveness that is accentuated with respect to the upper paleolithic 
era, a period during which, probably, there were in Europe consider- 
able ethnic and cultural infiltrations of African (Capsian) ^ origin, 
infiltrations that left deeper traces, more dense locaUzations, in the 
far southern zones. Among the other indications of African penetra- 
tion in this period may be noted examples of sculpture in the Capsian 
art of the peninsula showing women with protruding buttocks that 
are reminiscent of the disease known as steatopygia^ among the 
Bushman and Hottentot women.^ Practically the same may be said 

Mendes Corrêa: Os Fovos Frim- 

itivos da Lusitânia (The Frhmtive 
? copies of Lusitânia) (Porro, 1924); 
Raça e Nacionalidade (op. cit.). 

®® Natives of Capsa, a town in that 
part of noftfawestem Africa (the 
ancient G«tulia) now known as Mo- 
rocco; they were known to the 
Romans as Capsenses or CapsitanL 

*• "An excessive accumulation of 
fat in the buttocks, especially in 
women, frequendy found among the 
Hottentots, the Bushmen, and the 
P\'gn lies." — Lima and Barroso, op. cit. 

^Boule: Les Hammes fossUes, in 
Mendes Corrêa: Os Povos Frimitívos 

da Lusitânia (op. cit.). 

[Chellean (chellian): referring to 
the first paleolithic period, character- 
ized by crudely chipped and pointed 
flints, discovered at Chelles, France* 
Achculean (acheulian): referring to 
the third paleolithic period, so called 
£roin the type station at Saint-Acheul, 
near Amiens, France. Monscertan 
(moustierian): referring to a paleo- 
lithic period named aner die t^'pe 
station of the Moustier cave, on the 
bank of the Vézère, in France. 

The Portuguese Colonizer loi 

of die post-paleolithic ethnology of that Portogfuese territory where 
the CapsensesH, Taganus, a biachycephalic folk (Mugem), and the 
new Capstans of die east were united with a dolichocephalic people, 
"descendants, perhaps, of the European dolichocephalic type" and 
the possible bearers of the "essential elements of neolithic culture,*' 
not to roeak of fresh penetradons-a matter of doubt, so far as that 
goes— of African origin.^ 

In die neolithic and neo-neolithic period an intimate contact be- 
tween Europe and Africa continued in the peninsula. This was fol- 
lowed by a period— the bronze age— looked upon by some as one of 
stabilization. The man of the peninsula, having gone through the 
first seething phase of miscegenation, was left to cool for a number 
of centuries, without invasions cither from Africa or from the north 
to disturb the process of what may be termed cultural induration, 
marked by a definition of the physical type. But the final African 
invasion— that of Almen'a— left much for luirope to digest during this 
long period of assimilation. As we shall see later, contact with the 
Greeks and Carthaginians was to give fresh colors to peninsular cul- 
ture in the south and east, while at the same time, in the center and 
in the west, post-Hallstattian cultural forms were springing up, the 
work, possibly, of the Cclfs,"*^ who had staged an invasion first by 
way of the northeast and later by way of the western Pyrenees. Two 
cultural areas were thus outlined: one representing the northern or 
Celtic influence, the other the iMediterranean influence. But this with- 
out losing indigenous traits held in common, which, even in the zone 
looked upon by some as being predominandy under the influence 
of the Celts, survived in the badly baked ceramics to be found there. 

The peninsula in general and that territory which today is Portu- 
guese in parricular were marked by this duality of cultural forms 
at the time the Roman invasion took place. It is likely, meanwhile, 
that the brown-skin, curly-haired type was the more characterisdc, 
embodying cultural forms that were, it may be, more MedittRanean 
than Nordic, more African than European. Martial's famous self- 
portrait is highly expressive: "hispanus ego cantumax capilUs.'' This 
brown-skin, possibly Negroid type was die nearest to the aborigine 
and was the most common. It was not, however, the exclusive type. 
The point to keep in mind is precisely this: diat there is no exclusive 
type to be found in the edmic past of the Portuguese people, whose 
anthropology from remote pre- and proto-historic times has been a 

^ Mendes Corrêa, op. ctt. 
ppinioa of Bosch, cited by Mendes Cones, op. cit 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

mixed one; we arc to rcmenibcr the extreme mobility that has char- 
acterized the social formation of this folk. 

The data furnished Ripley by Ferraz de Macedo permitted that 
anthropologist to reach the conclusion that a doHchoceph:iHc type, 
low in stature, had been die persistent one in Portugal,^^ though 
without the predominance of any one pure stock.** This is the con- 
clusion, likewise, of Fonseca Cardoso.*'^ The latter gives as the basic 
characteristics of the Portuguese population, amid all the extraordi- 
nary variety of types, the following features: stature below the 
average; dolichocephalic skulls; dark hair and eyes; long, leptorrhine 
nose, somewhat elongated at the bottom. These are characteristics 
that point to the persistence of a small, doUchocephalic, brown-skin 
race that is supposed to have constituted the autochthonous base of 
the population-the descendants of Beaumes-Chaudes-Mugem, whose 
purest representatives arc to be met with today in the mountainous 
regions of upper Minho province (Castro Laboreiro). In the Can- 
tabrian region of Oviedo, on the right bank of the lower Guadal- 
quivir, and elsewhere in the north, die Portuguese anthropologist 
came upon purer specimens of the brachycephalic, low-statnred, 
mesorrhine race, widi globular head and votical occiput, a race that 
must have been the nrst among the immigrants; while at various 
points in Minho, Gaia, and Povoa de Vaizim, localizations of tall- 
scatured, dolichocephalic or mesodolichoid Noidics, widi long, finely 
modeled, leptorrhine noses, pinkish sidns, blond or reddish luir, and 
%ht-colorú eyes were to be found. These latter are die purest 
representarives of the blond northern race which a number of times 
invaded the territory that today is Portuguese. To the influence of 
this race upon the population of Portugal Fonseca Cardoso attributes 
the mestizo visage that is everywhere to be noted among the Portu- 

To these elements are to be added the Semtto-Phoenkians, of whom 
die Portuguese anthropologist finds the purest representarives among 
the fishing population of that portion of the seaboard which lies be- 
tween the two rivers, and among the more recent invaders: the Jews, 
Berbers, Moors, Germans, Negroes, Flemings, and EngHsh. 

If, as Haddon assumes/^ the invasions from the south accentuated 
the basic characteristics of the indigenous population, those from the 

«W. Z. Ripley: The Raeet of Fortuguesa,^ m Notta sobre Tormgd 

Eur ope y London, s.d. (Lisbon, 1908). 

The word stock is ia l?ngl«h jn 40 ^ q Haddon: The Races of 

the text. (Translator.) Man and Their Distribution (Cam- 

* Fonseca Cardoso: '^Antropolog^ bridge, 1929). 


The Portuguese Colonizer 


north brought to Portuguese anthropology new and even antagonistic 
elements. These elements engaged in coimict with the natives and at 
times came near to conquering them, but always ended by making 
peace with them. The result was a compromise that led to bizarre 
dualities of interbreeding such as are so typical of that population 
which is properly termed Portuguese. 

Portu|^ is» par excellence, the land of the transitory blond or 
demi-blond. In diose regions most deeply penetrated by Nordic 
blood, many a child grows up as blond and pink as a Flenush Christ 
Child, only later, upon reachu^ maturity, to turn out to be brown- 
skinned anid dark-haired. Or— and this is more typical— it then reveals 
that duality, that balance of antagonisms, to be seen in the natives of 
Minho whom Alberto Sampaio describes for us: men with blond 
beards and dark hair.*^ Dark-skinned men with blond hair. It was, as 
I see it, these two-colored mestizos who constituted the majority of 
the Portuguese colonizers of Brazil in the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries; these and not any blond or Nordic, pure white élite; nor, 
on the other hand, were they all brown-skinned and black-haired. 
They were neither Oliveira Vianna's dolicho-blonds *^ nor Sombart*s 
Jews, nor Debbane's *® Mozarabs, but typical Portuguese. Anthro- 
pologically and culturally a niLxed people. The frequency with which 
a transitory blond pigmentation occurs, not only in Portuguese chil- 
dren but in those of the Mediterranean type generally, is seen by 
Mendes Corrêa as suggesting a possible "vestigial filiation of the 
Mediterranean type to an old racial crossing into which the Nordic 
race and a proto-Ethiopian type might have entered." ^ A supposi- 
tion that is also entertained by Italian anthropologists. 

In Brazil the transitional blond, demi-blond, and false blond are 
still more frequent than in Portugal. But before Brazil became the 
land of the reddish-haired Sarará, as described by Gabriel Soares in 

<7 Alberto Sampaio: Esttidos HU^ 
táricos e Económicos (op. cit.). 

**F. J. Oliveira Vianna, is the 
author of: Evoloção do Povo Bra- 
sUeiro (Evolution of the Brazilian 
People) (and edition, Sao Paulo, 

1933) ; Vopiãaçõet Meridonais do 
Brasil (Southern Populations of Bra- 
zil) (3rd edition, São Paulo, 1933); 
and Raça e AssimUaçào (Race and 
AssimSetum) (2nd edkioii, Sfo Fralo, 

1934) . He is known in csontemporary 
Bnzil as die leading ezponeat of die 

diesis that the Negro is an inferior 
race and can only become a valuable 
factor in society through "Aryaniza- 
tion"— i.e., when he loses his racial 
purity and interbreeds with the white. 
(Ewbtçio do Povo BrasUeiro,p, 161.) 

*® Nicolas J. Debbanc: Vhifluence 
arabe dam la formation historiquej la 
littératwe et la civilization du peuple 
MsUien (Guio, 191 1). (Truulatar.) 
Mendes Gonéa, op. dt; 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

a sixteenth-cenniry chronicle — and, more characteristically, of the 
"pink-skinned mulatto," as Eça de Queiroz ^- once put it in an inti- 
mate conversation with an eminent Brazilian diplomat— Portugal had 
already anticipated the production of curious types, with light pig- 
menmrion or reddish hair but with the lips or nostrils of the Negro 
or the Jew. Let us not forget, however, in speaking of blonds in 
Portugal, that ancient localizations of blonds have also been identified 
in North Africa; ^ and that among the brown-skinned mass of Mus- 
sulmans who invaded the country there were also individuals with 
light hair. Or that many a Moorish charmer^'* was glimpsed by night 
combing locks which were as golden as the sun. Portugal also got 
its blonds from the southern side. From Africa -sandwiched in 
between heavy layers of dark men, many of them Negroid. 

Throughout the historical era racial and cultural contacts in Por- 
tugal, merely rendered difficult but never impeded by religious an- 
tagonisms, were the freest to be found anywhere, between the most 
diverse elements. When the peninsula was invaded by the Romans, 
the natives put up at first a tremendous and heroic resistance, but diey 
ended by yielding to Imperial pressure. There then began the period 
of the Romanizadon or Ladnization of Iberia. Roman rule was 
chiefly economic and polidcal in character, and it brought to die 
subjected populadons— subjected but not crushed— the advantages 
of Imperial technique: roads, baths, aqueducts, arches, pottcfy-fac- 

Alluding to the descendants of 
die French who, at die begimiii^ of 
die sixteendi century, lived in a state 

of concubinage, a mild form of po- 
lygamv, with the Tupinaniba women, 
"with no desire to return to France," 
Gabriel Scares has this to say: 'HThece 
b nothing astonkhing in the fact that 
these descendants of the French are 
white-skinned and fair-haired, since 
they arc merely reverting to tlieir fore- 
bears.**— 'Tair-haired, white-skinned, 
and freckled,** he says in another place. 
The chronicler*8 ODservation leads to 
the belief that pure blonds were not 
common among the sixteenth-century 
Portuguese colonizers, and that the 
latter identified the striking blond 
with the French. In this connection 
it is well to keep in mind also the 
words of another chroniclc-writcr of 
the same century, Hans Staden, cited 

by Pedro Calmon in his recent and 

Srovocadve Histdria da CwUiseagio 
rasileira {History of RraidUm Cn«- 
lization) (Rio de Janeiro, 1933): 
"They told me that if 1 had a red 
beard like the Frenchmen, they had 
also seen Portuguese with the same 
kind of beard, but that the latter 
generally had black beards." The In- 
dians— Calmon, basing his statement 
upon Gonçalo Coelho's account, re- 
minds us— were in the habit of distin- 
guishing the French from the Porti»- 
guese by the color of their beards. 

Portugal's famous nineteendi- 
ccntury novelist. (Translator.) 

•'3 Haddon: The Races of Man and 
Their Distribmian (op. cit.). 

^On the "enchanted Moorish 
woman" {vwma encantada)^ see 
Chapter p. 12. (TcaosUtor.) 

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The Fortugíiese Colonizer 


tories; it went down into the bowels of the.eardi to exploit the mines; 
and it exerted a palpable influence upon the moral culture and, to a 
lesser degree, the andiropology of the land. In the shadow of Imperial 
Rome temples to the Latin gods were erected in what is now Portu- 
gal, gods that were to win for themselves so deep a feelii^ of popular 
devotion that the Catholic saints were later to have to take on a like- 
ness to them, along \vith many of their attributes, in order to gain the 
affections of the people. The peninsular speech was Latinized and die 
ancient type of habitation was Romanized. Romanized, also, were the 
various institutions. Aimato Lusitano has even noted resemblances in 
physiognomy between the natives of Lisbon and those of Rome." 

The Roman conquest was followed by the invasions of the Alani,®' 
the Vandals, and the Suevi.^^ The Roman hold having been broken 
by the first wave of reddish-haired barbarians, a large portion of the 
peninsula was overrun with northern-comers, who later with no great 
effort set up the Visigoth rule. This rule, lasting three centuries, did 
not destroy the influence of the Roman colonists, but rather accom- 
modated itself to the general lines of the Latin and Imperial structure. 
In the matter of religion it was the invaders who abandoned their 
Aryan doctrines to adopt the Catholic creed of the Hispano-Romans. 
In law they underwent the influence of the Roman code, while main- 
taining their own customs, which were to leave definite roots in the 
former Roman province. 

It was between these two influences -that of the written law of 
the Romans and that of the unwritten body of customs of the in- 
vaders from the north-between them and smoothm^ out the antago- 
nisms—that a third one was subd^ to intervene, givmg to peninsmar 
institutions a new juridical flavor m the form of the canon law. There 
was then set up an episcopal nobility, with the appearance of blessing 
and pacifying, but in reality commanding and dominatii^. And an 
effective domination it was, owing to the authority, conferred upon 
tile bishops, of rendering judgment in civil cases. 

With the conversion of the Aryan Goths to Catholic orthodoxy, 
the Church through its bishops acquired in Spain a prestige superior 
to that of kings, judges, and barons. In Toledo, at the councU held 
in 633, the bi^ops faiad the pleasure of seeing the King prostrate at 

'5'' Alberto Sampaio: Estudos (op. 
ck.); Mendes Corrêa, op. cit. 

''^ A warlike Scythian tribe living 
along the banks of what is now the 
River Don; they are referred to by 

Martial, Pliny, Suetonius, and odier 
Latin writers. (Translator.) 

57 A powerful Germanic people in 
the northeastern part of Gennany; 
referred to by Tacitus, Caesar, and 
others. (Tranaator.) 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

their feet.^^ In the new peninsular laws, or better the code to which 
the fusion of Roman law with that of the barbarian had given rise — 
the so-called Fuero /wego— canonical prestige had led to the insertion 
of provisions authorizing the jurisdiction of the bishop in civil cases 
whenever plaintiff or defendant expressed a preference for an epis- 
copal verdict, whenever either of them chose to "tell it to the 
Bishop." For in the words of the Spanish jurisconsult Sempere y 
Guarinos, who lived in the time of Buckle: 'Hos querellantes lesiona" 
dos por la sentencia de tm juez, podiam quejarse a los bispos, y estos 
«oocvr asilas pendências, reformarias y castigar a los magistrados'' *• 
In other words, the bishops might intervene in a case that had been 
b^nn before a civil tribunal and reverse the finding. Durham stresses 
the constant vigilance exercised by the bishops over the administra- 
tion of justice and over the judges.^^ Over kings themselves, he m^ht 
have added. One monarch in Portugal —Sancho II— who attempted to 
govern without the bishops had his Kingdom cut in half and barely 
escaped with his head. It was with the aid of Sancho's own brother, 
later consecrated King under the name of Alfonso III, that the clergy 
put down this bold rebellion. 

In Spain and in Portugal the higgler clergy came to enjoy an ex- 
traordinary prestige, mystíc, moral, and juridical as well, over peo- 
ples that, by reason of the physical and social circumstances of ãieir 
lives— earthquakes, droughts, famines, plagues, wars, and all the up- 
setting conditions peculiar to regions of transit and of conflict-had 
come to be endowed with an extreme religious sensitivity, a sensitiv- 
ity that, in the case of both die Spaniards and the Portuguese, Buckle 
regards as constituting a great intellectual and political force. A re- 
flection of that force irradiated from papal Rome over the new 
Europe, converted to Christiaiiity. In Portugal there were religious 
orders that were at the same time military, thus adding the warrior's 
prestige to duit of the ecclesiastic Through its military orders the 
Church took advantage of the wars of reconquest in die peninsula 
chiefly to make ksdf die proprietor of large landed estates; for it did 
not leave exclusively to the Crusaders diemselves die matter of dividr 
ing the lands redauned £ram the infidels. A fat portion fell to die 
Templars, who from die time of Dona Thereza were the lords of 
Soure and of aQ the pleasant mfpxm between Coimbra and Leiria, and 
later of Tomar, Almoral, and Pombal abo. Odier orders followed 
their example and became landed proprietors of Aviz and Santiago, 

Fleury: Historia E eclesiástica, in 
Buckle: Bosquejo de Una Historia del 
Intelecto Espanol (translation) (Ma- 
drid, ILd.)* 

''^ Buckle, op. cit. 

^ Durham, cited by Buckle, op. cit. 

The Portuguese Colonizer 207 

while otheis sdU acquired lancb that wm not so nch.*^ The latifundi* 
aiy and semi-feudal method of colonization later applied in Brazil had 

its beginnings in Portugal in this semi-ecclesiastic effort. The only- 
thing is that with us the ecclesiastics were eclipsed by the individual 

initiative of our Duarte Coelhos, our Garcia d'A vilas, our Paes Ba- 
rretos, by sertanistas of the stamp of Domingos Affonso Mafrense, 
nicknamed "the Sertão," who upon his death left thirty cattle-ranches 
in Piauí. 

In Portugal the religious orders fulfilled an important creative 
function, not only in the economic reorganization of the territory 
reconquered from the Moors, but also in the political organization of 
the heterogeneous populations. With their canonical discipline they 
provided a political bond. The nation was thus put upon a religious 
basis, without prejudice to the two great dissident bodies, the Jews 
and the Moors, who, thanks to the political tolerance of the majority, 
were safe in the very shadow of the Moor-slaying warriors. This 
tolerance was to continue until the segregated ones— owing either to 
their superior industrial and mercantile genius or to the fact that, be- 
ing somewhat strange to their miUeu, they were more unscrupulous 
than the others— had become the holders of large peninsular fortunes. 
It was then that the majority came to feel that their tolerance was 
being abused. At least by the Jews. 

It was by way of containing within bounds the burning, seething 
hatreds that had arisen against the Israelite majority that the Tribunal 
of the Holy Office was set up, combining with the function of ex- 
amining consciences the power of examining, coldly and methodi- 
cally, the worldly possessions that the heretic had accumulated. The 
Jews had rendered themselves antipathetic less by reason of their 
region, looked upon as an abomination, than by what was r^;arded 
as an utter lack of any delicacy of feeling in their dealings with 
Christians where money matters were concerned. Their fortunes had 
been accimiulated chiefly throi^h usury, wfaidi was f ofbidden by 
tiie Church to Christians, or through the hokling of those public ad- 
ministradve posts, or positions in die manor hooscs of the gentiy and 
even within the Catholic corporations, which it was to die interest 
of die big landowners amoi^ the Christians to have filled by indi- 
viduals supposed to be free of all scruples and outside the laws of the 

*i Antônio Sergio: A Sketch of the lands) sometimes, as here, means a 
History of Portugal (op. cit.). pioneer or explorer of the sertão, and 

Sertanista (not to be confused at other times, a student of or author- 
widi sertanejOf a native of die back- ity oa the subject. (Tiandator.) 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

The diialitv of Portuguese culmre and the Portuguese character 
was accentuated under Moorish rule; and even after it had been con- 
quered, this people from Africa continued to exert its influence 
through a series of effects produced upon the masters by slaves and 
slave labor. That form of slavery to which the Moors and even the 
Mozarabs were subjected following the Christian victory was the 
medium through which there was brought to bear upon the Portu- 
guese, not the influence of the Moor, the Mohammedan, or the Afri- 
can in particular, but that of the slave in generaL An influence that 
predisposed him as none other could to the agrarian, slave-holding, 
and polygamous colonization— the patriarchal colonization, in short— 
of tropical America. The physical conditions in that part of America 
which fell to the Portuguese called for a colonization of this type; 
and without the Moorish experience he would in all probability have 
failed at this formidable ta^ He would have failed for the reason 
diat he would have been powerless to meet conditions so beyond the 
range of his own European experience. 

Thtre is not die space here to go into detail regarding the racial 
and cultural relations between Mussulmans and Christians in the 
Iberian Peninsula, especially those between Moors and Christians. 
Accordingly, I shall merely point out certain traces of the Moorish 
influence in the character and culture of the Portuguese people that 
appear to me to have been the most profoundly effective in fitting 
them for the victorious colonization of the tropics; 

I have already indicated that the Moorish and Berber invaâon was 
not the first to inundate with Negro and Mulatto strains the extreme 
southern tip of Europe, and particularly Portugal, a region of easy 
transit by way of which the first and most vigorous waves of African 
exuberance might overflow the continent. I have also indicated the 
possibility that tiie basic radal stratum in the peninsula, looked upon 
as indigenous, might be of African origin. Looked at it in this way, 
the Arabs, Moors, Berbers, and Mussulmans, in the course of their 
invasion, would simply have been taking possession of a region where 
tiie way had been prepared for them by an infusion of their own 
blood and culture— tiieirs, it may be, rather than Europe's. A region 
that was theirs by reason of its human past and, over large stretches, 
by reason of its climate and its vegetation as welL 

In their invasion of the peninsula the Mohammedans from Africa 
must have had the aid of those Hispanic elements opposed to the 
Visigoths— a circumstance I mention here by way of stressing the 
fact that, from the first, European and African interests were deeply 
intermingled. With the exception of a small number of intransigents 

The Portuguese Colonizer 


concentrated in Astúrias, the center of Christian independence, a 
large part of the population^ submitted to the political rule of the 
Moors and proceeded to develop intimate relations with them, pre- 
serving all the while a comparative purity of faith. 

It was these popnbtions-Mozarabic ones~a people imbued with 
the invader's culture and with the invader's blood m its veins-that 
were to constitute the base and sinews of Portuguese nationality. A 
nationality that, at first differentiated from Castile by the separatist 
interests of the ruddy adventurers from the north, who had come 
there to take part in the struggle against the Moors, later was to 
assert itself not so much through the ardor of its nobility, who, out 
of economic class interest, were ready to fraternize with then: neigh- 
bors, as through the uncompromising attitude of the Mozaiabic 
masses. Joio Lúcio de Azevedo looks upon this intransigence of na- 
tional sentiment in the people and the weakness of the same sentiment 
in the nobility as being a mark of racial psychology in Portugal. 
These were tendencies that were to reveal themselves in the great 
crises of 1383, 1580, and 1808. "When," writes Azevedo, "the con- 
cept of the fatherland, which had been lost in Roman unity, was once 
more awakened in the peninsula, it was the people who proved to be 
the depository of that national feeling which was lacking in the rul- 
ing class." ^ To the popular element the Portuguese historian further 
attributes, in addition to patriotic ardor, a peaceful and negligent 
disposition and a touch of Semitic fatalism, while the nobles were 
characterized by warlike proclivities and predatory habits. 

T am able, however, to accept only in part this ethnocentric inter- 
pretation suggested bv João Lúcio de Azevedo, with respect to the 
part that was played in Portuguese development by the aristocracy 
of Nordic background on the one hand and, on the other, by the 
native masses, deeply penetrated with Moorish and Berber blood; 
for in no modem country has there been so great a mobility from 
one class to another, and, if I may so put it, from one race to another, 
as in Portugal. The fact as I see it is that in the history of the Portu- 
guese people major consideration must be given to the social and 
economic aspect, represented by the precocious ascendancy of the 
bourgeoisie, which soon was to ally itself with the kings against the 
nobles, whose prestige was speedily to pale before that of the burgh- 
ers. Moreover, practically all the sap of the landed aristocracy was to 
be absorbed by the omnipotence of the religious orders, with their 

^ João Lúcio de Azevedo: **Al8uiim Notas Relativas a Pontos de Histária 
SodaP* (loc. cie). 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

large holdings, or by the astuteness of Jewish capitahsts. This goes 
to explain why it is that the landed aristocracy in Portugal is not 
endowed with the same stem and bristling prejudices as in countries 
with a feudal background, either against the burghers in general or 
against the Jews and Aloors in particular. Weakened by the pressure 
of the big landowning ecclesiastics, not a few aristocrats of Nordic 
origin went to the middle class, which was impregnated with Moorish 
and Hebrew blood, in search of rich young women whom they might 
many. From this there resulted in Portugal a nobility that showed as 
great a racial admixture, almost, as the boui^oisie or the masses. For 
the mobihty of families and individuals from one class to another was 
formidable; and it is, accordingly, impossible to draw conclusions 
horn the ethno-social stratifications in a people that has been so rest- 
less and so plastic in its movements. 

During the Moorish rule the aboriginal culture took from that of 
the invader a long series of values, as the two blood-streams mingled 
intensely. To state, as Pontes de Miranda does in a recent learned 
work, diat "the Árabs floated like oil on the surface of the peoples 
that they invaded or ruled, and never displayed a sufficient degree of 
mlscibility with them'* ^ is to give to the word fmscibiUty an extraor- 
dinary meaning which we are at a loss to explain For if the Arabs- 
Moors, the young master of the law, who is so rigorous in matters of 
terminology, might better have said-if the Moors did not mingle 
freely widi the Lusitanian populations, then I do not know what 
miscegenation is. What is more, this same Pontes de Miranda, thirty 
pages beyond the one where he makes this curious statement, corrects 
himself by saying: '*Only the best-established and most stabilizing of 
religions prevented the complete fusion of the races." And in this 
connection he cites the passage from Alexandre Herculano in which 
the social fusion of vanquished Quristians with the victorious Moors 
is masterfully portrayed. 

Those elements which ilie peninsular culture preserved from that 
of the invaders throughout the broad territory where Arabic or 
Moorish rule prevailed— or where the enslavement of African captives 
took place, once the roles of master and slave had been reversed— 
are today those which tend most to differentiate and individualize 
this part of Europe. While the religion and civil law of the con- 
querors was in large part preserved by the conquered, in other spheres 
of economic and social Hfe the Arabic influence in certain regions and 
the Moorish in others was profound and intense. The masses of the 

^ Ponces de Miranda: Fontes e Evolução do Direito Civil Brasileiro (op. cit.). 

Copyrighted material 

The Portuguese Colonizer 

2 I I 

Hispano-Roman-Gothic population, excluding only the obstinate 
minority that had taken refuge in Astúrias, had pemiitted their most 
intimate tastes to be influenced by the Arab and the Moor; and when, 
in the form of the Mozarabs, this pliable majority flowed back over 
Christian Europe, it was to constitute the very substratum of nation- 
ality. A military and political nationalism* was to be founded by 
others; the economic and social phase was die task of the Mozarabs, 
and down to the glorious era of voyages and conquests they were to 
give to it their blood and sweat. When this socially mobile population 
-extremely mobile, in fact— returned to Christian Europe, it was to 
bring with it a dense layer of culture and an enei^^edc infusion of 
Moorish and Negro blood, the effects of which persist to this day 
in the Portuguese people and the Portuguese character. These were 
a blood and a culture that were to be brought to Brazil; which ^plains 
much in the Brazilian that is neither European, nor native, nor the 
result of direct contact with Africa through the Negro slaves. It 
explains much that is Moorish in the private life of the Brazilian in 
colonial times and that still persists today, even so far as the physical 
type is concerned. 

In the course of the journey whidi, as Director General of Mines 
and Forests, he made through the interior of the capitânia of ^o 
Páulo, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, Mardm Francisco 
de Andrade observed that, throughout an extensive tract, individuals 
with pronounced Moorish physiognomies were to be encountered. 
If Portuguese of this racial origin were extinct in the metropolis, it 
is apparent from what Martim Francisco tells us that there were still 
in our country many who preserved the splendid purity of the primi-* 
tíve race, so numerous did the paulistas of Moorish origin and char- 
acteristics appear to him to be."" 

Great as was the influence of the Moorish ruler, that of the Moor- 
ish war-captive fully equaled it. It was the vigor of the latter's arm 
that was to render possible in Portugal the regime of agrarian auto- 
colonization through large-scale property and slave labor, one that 
was aftcrw ards advantageously employed in Brazil. It was thanks to 
the Moors and the religious, J. M. Esteves Pereiro tells us, that from 
the earliest times in Portugal "agriculture, its principal industry, was 
better developed than in other countries farther to the north." 

Marciin Fnmdsoo: *^Jofnal de the Capitânia of SSo F^ulo"), Revista 

Viagens por Diferentes Vilas da Cap- do Instituto Histérico e Qeúgrâplneo 

itSnia de São Paulo" ("Journal of fir«ftfoir0. No. 45. 
Travels through Difíerent Towns of 

212 The Masters and the Slaves 

Thanks chiefly to the Moors. "The picota or cegonha^ that simple and 
primitive mechanism for drawing water from the bottom of wells, 
was their work. The nora, that other device for raising water, asso- 
ciated with the pleasing poetry of the countryside, with its rope and 
pulley and its buckets, is an invenâon of the Arabs, or at least one 
of the mechanisms that they brought with them to the peninsula.'* ^ 
If it was the Crusaders who brought to the two Spains the widmill, 
applied in certain parts of America— the West Indies, for example— 
to the manufacture of sugar, it was the Moors who introduced into 
Portugal the water-mill, or azenha, ancestor of the colonial device 
for grinding cane through the power of water falling over a large 
wooden wheel. João Lúcio de Azevedo brings out the point that the 
olive tree itself would appear to have been better utilized in Portugal 
after the coming of the Moors. He goes on to explain: "the nomen- 
clature for the trees comes from the Latin: olheira (olive tree), 
olhal, oHvedo (terrain planted in olives); whereas úit names of the 
products are of Arabic derivation: azeitona (an olive), azeite (olive 
oil); all of which leads us to think diat a better use was made of this 
vegetable species during the Mussuhnan period*' ^ This is significant. 
Significant likewise Is die fact that the verb moureptr [from ntattro, 
a Moor] has become synonymous with *'to work" or '*to labor" in the 
Portuguese language; and there is also the phrase, as common in 
Portugal as in Brazil: ^'to work like a Moor." The eaqilanation is that 
the Moor was the great labor force in Portugal The technician. The 
agriculturist. It was he who was responsible for a greater and better 
utilization of resources, who got value out of the kind, who saved it 
from droughts through intelligent irrigation. It was not only the olive 
tree that was increased in value and utility through Moorish science, 
but the vineyards also. Not to speak of the orange tree, cotton, and 
the silkworm, all of which the Moors brought to the peninsula. They 
fulfilled the function of technicians; nor was their energy chiefly of 
the animal variety (as was later that of die slaves from Guinea) ; nor 

M J. M. Esteves Pereira: A Inãâstria 
Portuguesa (Séculos XII a XIX), 

uma introdução sobrt as corporações 
operárias em Portugal (Portuguese 
Industry from the Twelfth to the 
Nmeteentb Centuries, mtb an IntrO' 
duction on the Trade Guilds in Por^ 
tugal) (Lisbon, 1900). 

®^ João Lúcio de Azevedo: "Organ- 
ização Económica" (loc. cit.).— In his 

study of the towns of noithem Por- 
tugal, Alberto Sampaio writes: "Most 
interesting is the agro-industrial ter- 
minology of the olive tree, w hich has 
the singularity of being part Latin and 
part AMbic— oliveira, oliwã, oUvedo 
come under the first head, axeite and 
azeitona under the second." Estudos 
Históricos e Económicos (op. cit.). 

The Portuguese Colonizer 

was it a case of simple mercantilism on their part as with the Jews. 

It was not only cotton, the silkworm, and the orange tree that the 
Arabs and Moors introduced; they also developed the cultivation of 
sugar-cane, which, transported from the Madeira Islands to Brazil, 
was to condition the economic and social evolution of the Portuguese 
colony in America, giving it an agrarian organization and the possi- 
bilities of permanence. It was the Moor who furnished the Brazilian 
colonizer with the technical elements for the production and eco- 
nomic utilization of the cane. 

The Portuguese who on this side the Atlantic, somewhat in the 
manner of the Templars in Portugal, became large estate-owners were 
on the one hand following the example of the Crusaders, and espe- 
cially tiiat of the friars-capitalists and landed proprietors whose sole 
initial capital, not infrequently, was the goods» cattle, and men of 
die lands redaimed from the infidel-and on the other hand were 
repeating the technique of the African mvaders, if not with regard 
to the processes of laying waste the land (in which they preferred 
to be guided hy native suggestions), at least with respect to the in- 
dustrial utilizanon of products. As a result, the shadow of the Moor, 
no mere exploiter of values but a great creative figure, was benefi- 
cently projected over the beginnings of Brazilian agrazian economy. 
The economic system adopted in Brazil was the same as that inaugu- 
rated by the Nordic adventurers in Portugal following the Christian 
reconquest, the only difference being that ecclesiastic^ prest^ did 
not here absorb that of the individual, die family, and the feudd lord. 
But the industrial technique was that of die Moors. Above all, the 
device of the water-wheel. 

To what extent the Portuguese blood-stream, with already a large 
strain of the Semitic as a result of remote Phoenician and Jewish in- 
filtrations, was still fiirrhcr infiltrated by the Moor durinsr the tlux 
and reflux of the Mohammedan invasion, it is practicall\- im^xjssible 
to determine. But the infiltration of infidel blood must have been 
profound, when one considers not only the intimate relations that 
existed between conquerors and conquered during the African inva- 
sion, but those between Christians and captive Moors and between 
Hispano-Romans and Mozarabs in the period that followed. The last 
mentioned, by reason of their technical superiority, were to work 
their way toward the top of the economic and social ladder, their 
ascent beinq- favored by the precocious development of the Portu- 
guese bourgeoisie and the consequent exodus of workers from the 
land to the cities. In the course of ttiis development, the industrial 

Copyriyi iicu I : i ulCI lal 


The Masters and the Slaves 

arts and those crafts that were of urban rather than niral utiUty 
played an extraordinarily important role, and these were arts and 
crafts that were dominated by Moorish intelligence. 

There was another circumstance that was favorable to their ascend- 
ancy: the state of wars, droughts, plagues, and famines that for long 
aâlicted the Portuguese population, which by reason of the situation 
of its ports— a point of contact between the north and the Mediter- 
ranean—was subject to all sorts of unhygienic contacts. Two great 
pkgnes darkened the rdgn of Sancho I, one of them (that of 1348) 
being of pandemic proportions and Oriental origin. In 1 356, we learn 
from a monastic chronicle cited by Azevedo, tvvo thirds of the popu- 
lation of the Kingdom died as the result of famine/'^ Disturbances 
of climate and ph3^cal miheu combined in Portugal with the evils of 
the ladfundiary regime -including the laying waste of forests— to 
produce frequent social crises as a consequence of the scarcity of 

The law of allotments of Dom Fernando, promulgated in 1375, 
endeavored to face two problems: that of large-scale property, and 
dmt of the exodus of agricultural laboreis to £e city. In die former 
case it provided for the dispossessi]:^ of the estate-owner who, oat of 
negligence or from lack of means, ^ould leave his arable lands unr 
tilled. But even in the provisions of such laws as these, if the door 
was not left wide open, it was at least left ajar for the Moors and 
Mozarabs to migrate from the countryside to die town, to those 
ports so fioU of life and movement whose progress the sovereign took 
the lead in stimulating. Certain obligadons of permanence were im- 
posed upon the sons and grandsons of culdvators of die land, and 
upon nural laborers as well; but it would have been comparadvely 
easy for diose endowed with a superior and valuable apdtude as 
technicians to evade the provisions of the statute and make their way 
to the maritiine and commercial ddes. At this point the fact should 
be noted that die medieval cities had need of including in their popu- 
ladon workers capable of cultivating gardens and the so-called 'i>read 
lands," destined to provide sustenance for die urban dwelleis; so 
that even where rural labor was concerned, the skilled arms of the 
Moors and iVIozarabs, who had fled a humiliating state of servitude to 
take shelter under the protecting wing of the burghers and their 
laws, could still be employed to advantage. Everything goes to indi- 
cate that in Portuguese society at this time the vertical as well as the 

^ Azevedo: ^^Organização Econofnica" (loc cit.). 

Copyrighted material 

The Portuguese Colonizer 2 1 5 

horizontal movement of the Moorish and Mozarabic element, left 
bound to the soil by the reconquest, was tremendous in scope: from 
one sphere of life to another, from one to another economic zone. It 
was certainly this element that, by reason of its greater wealth of in- 
dustrial aptitudes, availed itself most effectively of the opportunities 
a£Forded the downtrodden to leave the land, to which they were 
bound by the obligations of a captive or a slave, for other employ- 
ment that was likewise agricultural or semi-uiban in character, but 
where their situation would be quite different from what it had been 
in the past. They would now be free tillers of the soil, and economic 
success would be easy for diem under these new circumstances. 

This explains why it was that the indigenous Hispanic element, 
whose blood had recently received a lively coloring from Moor and 
Berber, now ceased circulating on a lower level only, beneath that of 
the victorious Hispano-Gothic stratum, and ceased to be localized in 
any one region, but instead spread out advantageoudy over the entire 
country, rising at times to the most elevated stations in society. It 
is well, moreover, not to forget that this Hispanic element, which 
after contact wi^ the Moors was known as Mozarabic, during the 
period of Mussulman rule had suffered an economic and social dimi- 
nution, and that for a great many this diminution was accentuated 
during the reconquest; which was abnost wholly directed by foreign- 
comers from the north -a species of new-rich and new-power-en- 
dowed beings. What happened afterwards, therefore, was not so 
much an ascension as a readjustment of position, due in part to the 
fact that during the period of Mohammedan rule the technical and 
industrial capacities of the Hispanic folk, who had compromised with 
the invader, had been enriched and refined by contact with the 
superior North African culture. 

But before this process of social readjustment had taken place, at 
the time of the first contact of the Mohammedan invaders with the 
Quristian populations, both the popular and the upper classes among 
the latter had undergone a penetration by die Actors. This penetra- 
tion was facilitated not alone by the dominant position of the African 
race, but also by its tendency to polygamy. Abdul-Aziz ibn-Muza 
not only wed the widow of Roderico, but took may Christian virgins 
for his concubines. On the other hand, Ramiro II, of Leon, fascinated 
by the beauty of a Saracen maid of noble lineage— undoubtedly one 
of those who later became "enchanted iMoorish damsels"— slew his 
legitimate wife and married the exotic creature, by whom he had a 
numerous progeny. The two cases are typical: on the one liand, a 
violent penetration of the conquered people by the polygamous in- 


The Masters and the Slaves 

vader, through their womenfolk; and on the other, the attraction 
exerted by the Saracen woman, especially when of noble birth, upon 

men of the defeated race. 

The noble families in Portugal as in Spain that absorbed the blood 
of the Arab or the Moor were innumerable. Some of the knights who, 
in the wars of reconquest, most distinguished themselves by die 
Moor-ldlling ardor of their Quristianity had such blood, the blood 
of the infidd, in their veins. On the other hand, dieie must have been 
much Spanish or Portuguese orthodox Christian blood in the Moham- 
medans who emigrated to África. It is known that the African reflux 
carried widi it even Franciscan friars, polygamous ones, with an 
overfondness for women. There was many a Mem or Mendo, many 
a Pelagio, many a Soeiro, many an £gas, many a Gonçalo— mai^ 
who, one would have said, to judge from their Christian fervor, were 
Hispano-Gotlis without die lightest trace of Manusm in thdr an- 
cestiy, but who in reaUty were Portuguese widi a Moorish or Arabian 
grandfather or grandmother. Of the Count of Coimbra, Dom Ses- 
nando, the chronicles tell us that he was a mixed-blood, of Christian 
and Moor, and that he was even a vizier among the Saracens. And 
we know that another mixed-blood, I>om Fifes Serraam, became a 
member of the Christian nobility by marrying a Mendes de Bragança. 

No means of identifying Hispanos and Moors, Christians and in- 
fidels, conquered and conqueror, nobles and plebeians in Portuguese 
society is more uncertain than individual and family names. Races, 
cultures, and social classes were so jumbled in the peninsula that the 
weight attached to the feet of some through slavery or the spoils of 
war never succeeded in preventing them from fluctuating anew. 
Alexandre Herculano observes that, following the intense miscibility 
that accompanied the invasion, names of mixed lineage became com- 
mon: Pelagio Iban Alafe, Egas i\bdallah Argeriquiz, etc.'^^ This gives 
a good idea of the degree of social compromise between the con- 
quered and their conquerors. It conveys a precise idea of how plastic, 
filled with movement, and fluctuating Mozarabic society in Portugal 
really was. What happened in the case of the Moors happened also, 
to a certain extent, with the Jews. Both allowed themselves to be 
penetrated in their various strata. And never— we may stress it: never 
once — did classes in Portugal become stratified to that point where 
an individual or a family might be identified simply by the noble or 
plebeian, Jewish or Christian, Hispanic or Moorish character of a 

Alexandre Herculano: História de Portugal (op. cit.). 

The Portuguese Coloiiizer 


In the wars against the Moors and Castilians there were many 
Portugnese who became ennobled, winning for themselves the right 
to lands and tides. Few of them, however, remained in possession of 
estates which were difficult to exploit in competition with ihose 
great capitalistic enterprises represented by the religions and military 
orders. When the attention of the Portuguese came to be directed 
chiefly toward the sea, many individuals who had been bom in rural 
servitude now found themselves promoted to the position of free 
laborers in die city. At the same time, while they were going up the 
ladder, others were coming down, among them the small rural pro- 
prietors, the owners of estates diat had been granted them for didr 
services in time of war; these were individuals incapable of competing 
with the latifandiary enterprises, and were, accordingly, absorbed by 
the latter. The very laws of Dom Fernando designed to curb the 
latifundia almost never had any other effect than that of taking away 
the holdings of the lesser gentry, who through penury or lack of 
labor were incapable of exploiting them, to incorporate them with 
the domains of the all-powerful monopolists. Whence a numerous 
nobility of "landless Johnnies" (''jooes-seiit-terra''') in Portugal, a 
nobility that began drifting to the cities, principally to the court, to 
seek out public employment in the vicinity of the King and, later, 
in the overseas possessions. 

Alberto Sampaio provides us with valuable data regarding the 
utter lack of rigidity or aristocratic exclusi\ eness in the concept of 
lineage among the early Portuguese. The names of individuals were 
then, as they still are to a certain extent today, in Portugal and in 
Brazil, the same for the humble as for the great. These names were 
generally Germanic; "for following the coming of the Suevi and the 
Visigoths, the Hispanos adopted their names in place of those of the 
Romans." And Sampaio adds: ''In documents of die late Middle 
Ages personal names are held in common by all and are so uniform 
that in the writs of assignadon no legal dilferentiation is made be- 
tween knights and others; this is espeoally nodceable in the judicial 
inquiries, where, alongside patronymics in general use, there begin 
to appear present-day surnames designating now nobles and now 
commoners. ... A dominant race with a blood-stream different 
from that of the inhabitants," the writer goes on to say, **is inadmis- 
sible without personal names that are its exclusive property; and the 
counter-proof is patent in the extreme admixture of names and physi- 
cal types throughout the whole of the population." In this regard, 

" Alberto Sunpaio: Estudos (op. etc.). 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

the Portuguese historian cites a statement of major interest from the 
Old Book, or Lkro Velho, itself, a work of ancient lineage, where 
we read: "There be many who come of good stock and they know it 
not . • . and many there be who by natural right may claim a share 
in many monasteries and many churches, many cities of refuge, and 
many honors, but who lose all from want of knowing of what stock 
it is that they come." 

It was, moreover, in the interest of the kings, who in Portugal so 
quickly asserted themselves against the vague outlines of feudalism, 
to level oS social classes in so far as possible, permitting no one class 
to predominate. They achieved this in part by showing more favors 
to the bourgeoisie than to the aristocracy, by granting special rights 
to artisans, and, so far as lay within their power, by depriving the 
landed gentry of their prestige. The only exception was the ecclesias- 
tical nobility, which in time and with the protection of the Pope was 
able to restrain the impulsiveness of the two Sanchos and to preserve 
for itself enormous economic privileges. 

To be the "son of a somebody*' C^filbo éPalgo^) in Portugal did 
not mean so much as to be a friar— that is to say, one who combined 
the knight's sword with the religious habit of one of the powerfol 
military orders. The impoverished gentry had their answer from 
Dom Diniz at die end of the Middle Ages, when he deprived the 
nobles of their honors so long as they lived by industrial crafts or 
agricultural labor for others: **followmg the trade of blacksmith, or 
shoemaker, or tailor, or waxchandler, or any trade similar to these 
because they are in want of funds, or who labor for a price on the 
lands of another." ^ What is more, this state of things was prolonged 
in Brazil. G>lonists of elevated birdi were here shorn of their prestige 
when vanquished in the competition for the best lands and the largest 
number of agrarian slaves. At the beginning of the nineteenth cen- 
tury, Mardm Francisco, in the interior of the capitâma of SSo Páulo, 
met with individuals of noble origin who were performing mechani- 
cal tasks as thou^ they were plebetans,^^ to die <tetriment of dieir 
ancestral status, inasmuch as the laws of the Kingdom in such cases 
aimnlled their r^ts of nobility. 

After five centuries there still were in Portugal no stratified and 
exclusive social classes with insurmountable barriers. "However pre- 
ponderant it may have been once upon a time," writes Alberto Sam- 
paio, "the nobility never succeeded in forming a closed aristocracy; 
the widespread use of the same names by persons of the most diverse 

Ibid. ^< Martim Francisco: "Jomd de 

" Ibid. Viagens** (loc. cit.). 

The Portuguese Colomzer 1 19 

conditions in life, as happens with prcscnt-day- surnames, is not some- 
thing new in our society; it is sufficiently explained by the constant 
shifting of individuals, some becoming distinguished while others 
returned to the masses from which they had sprung. In this respect 
the law of Dom Diniz is like a milestone between two eras, lending 
us historical confirmation.*' " 

All of which reinforces my own conviction to the effect that Por- 
tuguese society was more mobile and fluctuating than any odier, 
setting itself up and evolvii^, as it did, dirough an intense vertical 
as well as horizontal circulation of the most diverse elements so far 
as origin was concerned. Sorokin could find no better laboratory for 
the study and verification of his theory of mobility than among this 
people whose ethnic and social past shows the exclusive or absolute 
predominance of no one element, but a succession of compromises 
and interpenetrations. 

One more observation regarding the Moors and the Mozarabs, re- 
garding the process by which these two elements asserted their worth. 
The Portuguese commercial era, with a commerce that at first was 
limited to i uiropc, being extended at most only to the Levant, but 
which from the fifteenth century on was marked by bold overseas 
expeditions— this era, as I have said, was especially favorable to the 
ex-slaves, permitting them, as free men now, to embark upon adven- 
tures filled with possibilities of economic and social aggrandizement. 
With respect to Brazil, it is likely that among the first settlers were 
numerous individuals of Moorish and Mozarabic origin, along with 
new-Christians and old Portuguese, Debbané supposes that they were 
the principal colonizers of our country: ^^de Pan i ^jo à Tail 1600, les 
premiers colons de rAmérique dn Sud appartieiment à VEspagne et 
au Portugal tfieridionaJ, c^est â dire â la partie iorteinent orientalisée 
et arabisée de PEspagne et du FortugaW And again: "C^ n^etaient pas 
en effet les Espagiiols ni les Portugais du Nord descendants des 
Visigothes qui éfuigraient ev Amêrique; ceiíx-ci étaient les triompha- 
teurs, les vainqueurs des guerres livrées contre des popidations 
arabisées du Sud de la péninsule Ibérique.^^''^ It may be said that 
Debbané's supposition, the opposite of Ohveira Vianna's, is too ex- 
treme. Vianna conceives a Brazil colonized in large part and chiefly 
organized by dolicho-blonds; but the most minute researches in tins 

Sampaio, op. cit. In the second edition of his Evo- 

78 Nicolas J. Debbané, op. cic— It is luçáo do Povo Brasileiro the distin- 

tímely to nciU the locuharioitt of guished sociologist stresses the fact 
indindinls ol Moorish oddn observed that he presents this thesis "as a pure 
In Sio Fralo by Mardm Fxancisoo* hypothesis, a pardy conjectonl wap- 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

field, such as the snidy of sixteenth-century inventories and wills to 
be found in São Paulo, tend to show that Brazilian colonization was 
effected very much in the Portuguese manner; that is to say, heter- 
ogeneously so far as racial and social origins are concerned, with 
neither brown skins nor blonds predominating; neither Mozarabs, as 
Debbané assumes, nor aristocrats, as Oliveira Vianna with his quasi- 
mystical Aryanism imagines; neither the gilded fidalgos of Frei 
Gaspar nor those dregs of the Kingdom— criminals and prostiuites— 
ivith which Portugal is so commoiity accused of having Med Brazil 
during the first centuries of colonization. 

Those descendants of the Mozarabs and Christianized Moors who 
made their way to Brazil- and among them, Debbané finds, were 
even prisoners of war from the Moroccan campaigns and Moors who 
had been expelled in 1610— did not come directly out of a state of 
rural servitude, but had been in the service of the powerful of the 
realm, engaged in urban occupations which many of them had taken 
up by way of evading the laws of Dom Fernando. Others had come 
from free labor on lands held in fief. Still others had the useful trades 
of shoemaker and tailor. Among the newcomers in the cities and 
towns of the sixteenth century there must have been many who had 
already improved their condition, economically and socially, by 
dealing in hides and by practicing the trades not only of shoemaker 
and tulor, but of bladramith and furrier as well But diere were some 
who still had to struggle against difficulties and were anxious for an 
opportunity to better their way of life, and their technical aptitudes 
were undoubtedly of great vsOtat in the colonizing epeditions of 
ruined fidalgos and military adventurers, who possessed no other 
knowle^e dban diat of how to handle a sword, a knowledge that was 
all but usidiess to them now. 

"It is this scarcity of manual labor," writes JcSo Lúdo de Azevedo, 
with reference to Portugal, ''that accounts for the importance that 
master craftsmen and artisans came to have in our towns and for their 
influence in our deliberative assemblies." ^ Bladcsmidis, shoemakers, 
furriers, stonemasons, gold- and silver-snuths, minters, coopers— these 
formed a true aristocracy of technidans, commanding the respect of 

position," never as a "definite asser- of my ideas on this and other prob- 

tíon.** He adds: **! matt oonfesi, Icms of ethnology and anthiopo- 

meanwhile, that a more profoaiid 8odo]ogy."~Op. at.. Preface to and 

study of the proUems of Race and an edition (São Paulo, 1933). 

increasing contact with the great '^^João Lúcio de Azevedo: "Of- 

sources of scientific elaboration in this ganização Econôinica" (ioc cit.), 
field have led to a deep-going revision 

Copyrighted material 

The Portuguese Colonizer 221 

a society that all of a sudden, as it were, had emerged from the 
monotonous simplicity of rural and agricultural life, one that had 
suddenly emerged from a regime in which its limited industrial needs 
had been supplied by its own servants or by the household arts of its 
womenfolk, and which now was called upon to give its attention 
to the diversifications and refinements of a free industrial activity in 
the new urban centers. Hence the social force into which, along widi 
the merchants of the maritime cities, the technicians, workers, and 
artists were transformed. Street names in Lisbon to this day recall 
that dominance over the life of the city which, under a mildly reli- 
gious form, was exercised by them, concentrated as they were in 
certain, one might say strategic, quarters or squares diat were like so 
many fiefs. Shoemakers, linen merchants, blacksmiths, fishermen, 
gilders. All trades, all activities— each with its own saint, its own 
banner, its own privileges. And through the casa-dos-vrnte-e-quatro 
(chamber of aldermen) these technicians and artists exerted a palpa- 
ble influence over the city administrations. Various privileges were 
granted tiiem by the kingsj^ privileges carrying with them an eleva- 
tion in the social and political scale. It was from the syndicates of 
master worlimen that the religious brotherhoods and confraternities 
were derived, which later were to flourish also in Brazil, being there 
extended to take in even slaves, but without any slightest trace of the 
prestige that they had enjoyed in Portugal as an expression of class 

Analyzing the first strata of São Vicente settlers, through invento- 
ries and wills of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Alfredo Ellis, 
Jr., makes the point that the "southern region of Portugal, takincr in 
Alentejo, Portuguese Estremadura, and the Algarv^es"— the zone, be 
it noted, that was most deeply penetrated with iMoorish blood -"was 
the one that sent us around twcnt)^-eight per cent of our settlers of 
known origin, a percentage equal to that of the Lusitanian north." 
And contrary to the theory of Lapouge, represented among us by 

In his studv of "The Evokition 
of Portuguese Industry," J. de Olive- 
ira Simões has this to say: "The Casa 
dos 24, with its people's judge, derk, 
and bailiff, a junta formed by dele- 
gates from the mechanical trades 
which functioned in the principal 
cities, shows the social importance 
that the labor of the people had at- 
tained in the life of the nation."— 
Notas sobre Portugfll (op. dc).— See 

also on til is subject the studies by 
João Lúcio de Azevedo: ''Organização 
EeoBâmc^ (loc cit.); J. M. Esteves 
Perein: A Indústria Portuguesa (op. 
cie); and Paulo Merêa: ^^Organização 
social e administração pública''' ("So- 
cial Organization and Public Adminis- 
tration in História de Portugal, 

«» Alfredo EUis, Jr.: Raça da Qi- 
ganteSf a civilização no fimdto paul- 
ista (op. câL). 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

Oliveira Vianna,^^ to the effect that the Nordics are the race that is 
most highly endowed with the qualities of initiative and daring, the 
researches of the writer just quoted show the twenty-eight per cent 
from the south and their descendants to be eugenically superior to the 
twenty-eight per cent from the north. This, whether we have in mind 
the deeds of the sertanistas, the backland explorers, or the fecundity, 
longevity, and virility that the latter display. 

Many of the carpenters, blacksmiths, tailors, shoemakers, butchers, 
who to a large extent made up São Paulo society, must have come 
originally from the Mozarabic masses, who for two centuries had 
established their worth and had risen in the social scale. We have 
seen, however, that throughout the first centuries of Portuguese 
national life the classes were never stratified or isolated behind fron- 
tiers that were not to be crossed. The King, Dom Diniz, recognized 
the value of the shoemakers and tailors, and it was only their lack of 
resources diat prevented their being granted the prerogatives of 
nobility. For tiiem emigration to American and the colonization of 
its virgin lands must luve offered splendid opportunities of social 
ascent or readjustment. The master-builder who accompanied Thomé 
de Souza " to Brazil was liberally recompensed by Majesty for 
technical services rendered, and ãie carpenters, plasterers, and stone- 
masons must have been similarly rewarded. 

To the representatives of the Mozarabic masses among the first 
colonists of Brazil should be added those who represented the small 
but substantial agrarian nobility, who in Pernambuco were gathered 
around the patnarchal figure of Duarte Coelho. There was also a 
lesser number of representatives of the military and foot-loose aris- 
tocracy who had been drawn to Brazil through a spirit of adventure 
or who had come to serve a term of exile in the tropical wilderness. 
But the point to be stressed is the presence of the Mozarab descend- 
ants—not scattered here and there, but in large numbers—among die 
eariy settlers, for they were the representatives of the energetic and 
creative pldieian strata. It was through this element that so many 
traces of Moorish culture were transmitted to Brazil. Traces of moral 
and material culture. Debbané mentions one: the mild treatment 
accorded to slaves,^ who, to tell the truth, among the Brazilians as 
among the Moors, were members of the household rather than beasts 

81 See his Populações Meridioruus Governor of Brazil by Kii^ John 

do Brasil; úaa Evolução do Pow Bnt~ III in 1549. He ruled the country 

sileiro. from the then capital of Bahia. 

®2 Thomé (or Tomás) de Souza (Translator.) 
was the Portuguese soldier appointed Debbané, loc. cit. 

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The Pormgiiese Colonizer 

of burden. Another trace of Moorish influence to be identified in 
Brazil is the idealization of the fat woman as a type of beauty; an 
ideal that was so firmly fixed in the minds of the colonial generations 
and those under the Enmire.^ And still another: the fondness for 
voluptuous tub or "canoe baths,"" as iveU as for the sound of running 
water in the gardens of the Big Houses. Burton came upon various 
reminiscences of Moorish customs in nineteenth-century Brazil. That 
of having the children recite in concert the multiplication table and 
their spdling lesson reminded him of Mohammedan schools."* And 
having traveled into the interior of Minas and SSo P^ulo, he there 
found the women goin^ to Mass clad in the mantilla, their faces 
ahnost wholly covered m the manner of the Arab women. In die 
soteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries veils and mantillas 
were to be seen all over Brazil, giving to feminine fashions an air that 
was more Oriental than European. The veils were a sort of "black 
domino," funereal cloaks in which many of the Portuguese beauties 
went shrouded, as they are described by Sebastião José Pedroso in 
liis Itinerary J in speaking of the women of the Kingdom.**^ 

And let us not forget that our colonial grandmothers always pre- 
ferred rugs and mats to armchairs and stuifed sofas, thus leaning to 
Oriental custom rather than to the refinements of European taste. 
In the house and even in church it was upon cool pipiri mats that 
they seated themselves, legs crossed in Moorish fashion, their tiny 
feet covered by their skirts. "When they go visiting," we learn from 
a seventeenth-century Dutch manuscript, with reference to the Luso- 
Brazilian women, "they first of all send ahead to announce their 
coming; the mistress of the house then seats herself upon a beautiful 
Turkish carpet, made of silk and spread out on the floor, and waits 
for her women friends, who take their places on the rug beside her, 
sitting hke tailors, but with their feet covered, for it would be a great 
shame for them to permit anyone to see their feet." ®* 

^ **Oam of the greatest compliments 
that can be paid a lady is to tell her 

that she is becoming fatter and more 
beautiful," notes George Gardner in 
Travels in the Interior of Brazily Prin- 
cipally through the Nenbem Pro%f- 
mces (London, 1886). 

So called because the bath had 
the shape of a canoe. (Translator.) 

•® Richard F. Burton: Explorations 
of ibo Hij^Uãitdt of ^ Briál (Loa- 
don, 1869). 

^ Ithierano de Lisboa e Vima do 

MinhOy etc (Itinermy of Lisbon and 

Viana do Minho) ^ in Leite de Vas- 
conccllos: Ensaios Etnográficos (Eth- 
nographic Essays) (Lisbon, 1910). 

^^The pipiri is a herbaceous plant 
of the aperaeete family {Rhynebot- 
pora storea), (Tnnsktor.) 

^''The account tells us that when 
the seventeenth-century senhoras 
went out, it was in hammocks with 
rugs thrown over them, or else they 
went cloistered in palanquins. Thev 
were dad ia cosc^ i^^puel* witn 

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2 24 The Masters and the Slaves 

There were various other material values that were absorbed by the 
Portuguese from Moorish or Arabian culture and that they trans- 
mitted to Brazil: the art of glazed tiling, of which so prominent a use 
is made in our churches, convents, residences, bathhouses, water- 
spouts, and fountains; Moorish tiles; windows with quartered or 
checkered panes; latticework (Venerim) shades; the abalcoado; ^ the 
thick walls of houses.^^ To this influence likewise we owe our ac- 
quaintance with a number of delicncics and culinary processes, along 
with a certain taste that we have for fat and oily foods, rich in mfpi. 
The couscous, today so very Brazilian, is of North African origin. 

The chronicle-writer who accompanied Cardinal Alexandrino to 
Lisbon in 157 1 noted the abuse of sugar, cinnamon, spices, and egg- 
yolks in Portuguese cooking. He was told that the greater part of the 
dishes in question were Moorish. He also observed the face that 
napkins were chai^^ed in the middle of the meal, a refinement of 
cleanliness that was perhaps unknown to the Italians. The old Portu- 
guese cook-books, such as the Arte de Cozinha of Domingos Rod- 
rigues, master cook to Uk Majesty (Lisbon, 1692) is fiUed with 
Moorish recipes: ''Moorish lamb," ''Moorish sausage," "Moorish hen," 
"Moorish fish," "Moorish broth." 

As to the general influence of die Mohammedans upon the His- 
panic peninsula— on its medicine, hygiene, mathematics, architecture, 
and decorative arts-I shall confine myself to the observation that. 

many jewels, even though some ct 
them were imitation ones.— "Brief 
Discourse on the State of the Four 
Conquered Capitânias, of Pernam- 
buco, Itamaraca, Páráhybá, and Rio 
Grande, Situated in the Nonhem Put 
of Brazfl,** trandated from the Dutch 
of a manuscript in the Archives of 
The Hague and published in the 
Revista do Instituto ArqiíeológicOy 
Histórico e Geográfico de Pernam- 
buco, No. 34. 

kind of Moorish balcony. 

®^ Araujo Vianna, in a paper on 
''The Plastic Arts in Brazil in General 
and the Gr^ of Rio de Janeiro In 
Particular," m the Revista do Instituto 
Histórico e Geográphico BrasileirOy 
notes among the Moorish reminis- 
cences in our Big Houses the "rótulas^* 
(latticed shades) and the "strips of 

^azed tiling in the patios and dining- 
rooms."— José Marianno, in writing 
on "The Reasons for Brazilian Archi- 
tecture," in the Rio newspaper O 
Jomalf says: "The excess of luminos- 
i^ in tiie environment was intelli- 
gently corrected by thick layers of 
wall; by broad verandas (the entry- 
ways of Pernambucan houses), espe- 
cially designed to protect the living- 
rooms against the rigors of the sun's 
direct rays; by Venetian or latticed 
Uinds (rótulas); and by Moorish 
porches and balconies."— Another 
trace of iMoorish culture should be 
mentioned: the good sense displ^ed 
by the Portuguese colonizer of Bra- 
zu in the narrow streets of hk time; 
today, unfortunately, they are wholly 
disappearing and their place is being 
taken by broad streets and avenues." 

The Portuguese Colonizer 225 

put down by repressive measuies or Catholic reaction, this influence 
stíU survived the Christian reconqucst. The Moorish art of decoration 
as applied to palaces and dwellings came down intact through the 
centuries of greatest Christian splendor, to vie favorably with the 
eighteenth-century rococo style. Dominant in Portugal, it flowered 
anew in die decoration of the Big Houses in nineteenth-century 

The colonial craftsmen to whom Brazil owes the designing of its 
first habitations, churches, fountains, and portals of artistic interest 
were men who had been brought up in die Moorish tradition. From 
theb: hands it was that we received the precious heritage of glazed 
tile. If I insist upon this cultural trait, it is for the reason that it is so 
intimately bound up with hygiene and family life, in Portugal and 
in Brazil. More than a mere mural decoration rivalling Arras-cloth, 
the Moorish tile represents, in the domestic life of the Portuguese and 
his Brazilian descendant in colonial days, a survival of that taste for 
cleanliness and neatness, for brightness, and for water, that almost 
instinctive sense of tropical hygiene, which is so keen in the Moor. 
This was a sense or an instinct that the Portuguese, re-Europeanized 
in the shadow of the Christian reconquest, had in large part lost. With 
the Christians the glazed tile was practically transformed into a deco- 
rative carpet, of which the hagiologist made the most advantageous 
use in the pious decoration of chapels, cloisters, and residences. It 
retains, however, by reason of the very nature of the material, those 
hygienic qualities which are characteristically Arabian and Moorish: 
it is cool, clean, and easily polished. 

The contrast afforded by the truly fehne hygienic habits of the 
Mohammedans and the uncleanliness of their Christian conquerors is 
one that should be noted. Condé, in his history of the Arabic rule in 
Spain, a work so often cited by Buckle, poitnys the peninsular 
Christians— that is, the intransigents of the sevendi and nindi cen- 
turies—as being individuals who never took a bath, never washed 
their linen, and never removed their clothes until they were falling 
oã them in shreds. This horror of water, this neglect of bodily 
h3rgiene and care of the clothing, remains with the Portuguese of 
tooby, and I believe it may be stated that this is especially the case in 
those regions that have benefited least from the Moorish influence. 
Alberto Sampaio dwells upon the unclean habits of the native of 
Minho province, who represents the blondest^ most European and 
Christian type to be found in Portugal.*^ It is true that Estanco Louro, 

Alberto Sampaio: Estudos (qp. cie.). 

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22Ó The Masters and the Slaves 

in a recent monograph on Alportd, a rural par^i in soadiem Portu- 
gal, reports a '^flagrant neglect of bodily cleanliness" on the part of 
die natives of the place, "a lade of bodily hygiene, bathing in the 
majority of cases being limited to washing the face on Sunday in 
ye^ cursory fadiion"; "a hàí of public toilets and nrinals in the 
towns; in the country, privies adjoining the houses . . . pigsties and 
dung-heaps kept near the dwellings and stables communicating with 
the latter." •* But on the other hand, this writer mentions certain 
notions of cleanliness on the part of the inhabitants that are carried 
to the point of an obsession, and that possibly have been preserved 
from the time of the Moors. "This may be seen in the frequent 
scrubbing of the house floor, in the constant whitewashing of houses 
and walls, in their unfailing habit of changing into very clean luien 
every week. . . Moreover, in connection with the south of 
Portugal, one should take into account the scarcity of water, which 
places the inhabitant of town or countryside under conditions that 
are identical with those that confront the BraziHan backlander— 
another one who rarely takes a bath, although he piques himself upon 
his scrupulously clean linen and the neatness he displays in his person 
and in his home. 

The Franciscan brightness of the house in southern Portugal, 
always freshly whitewashed, forms a striking contrast with the dwell- 
ings to be found in the northern and central portions of the country, 
which are grimy, ugly, filthy abodes. In the former the influence of 
the Moor in the direction of brightness and a pleasing coolness is 
evident. The inside affords the same contrast. It is a pleasure to enter 
a southern house, with the kitchenware gleaming like mirrors along 
the walls, conveying a charming impression of clean dishes and 
laundered towels. 

There is another influence exerted by the Moor upon Portuguese 
character of which we should take note: the influence of Moham- 
medan upon Christian morality. No form of Christianity is more 
human or more lyric than that of the Portuguese. From the pagan 
religions, but from that of Mohammed as well, it has preserved as 
none other in Europe a taste for the fleshly things of life. It is a 
Christianity in which the Infant Jesus is idaitified with Cupid, and 
the Virgin Mary and the saints with the concerns of piocrearion and 
love rather than with chastity and asoctirism.*^ In this respect Porto- 

»» Estanco Louro: O Livro de Al- »*Ibid. 

portei— Monografia de uma freguesia ^ For an espression ia modem 

rurd (Tbe Book af Aiponel— Mano- afaoit-ttoiy fccm of tfaâ sçtk of 
gri^ on a Rural PÔrisb) (Lkboo* 

The Portuguese Colofiizer 227 

pacse Chiistiam^ may be said to go fmtfaer dum Mohammedanism 
Itself. Hies with a-senial designs among the followeis of the Prophet 
take on near-aphrodisiac forms in the doisters of convents and along 
the baseboards of sacristies. Nude figures. Divine infants in whom 
the nons very often adore the pagan god of love in preference to the 
Nazarene, gloomy and full of wounds, who died on the Gross. One of 
these nuns it was, Sister Violante do Céu, who compared the Christ 
child to Oqpid: 

Divine little Shepherd^ 
Who slay est ivith love. 
Withhold not thine arrows 
From jailing in my heart! 
But drâfio thy bow mid strike 
Slay me njoith love. 
That I may no longer wish for Ufe, 
Save hut to die for thee/ ^ 

In connection with the worship accorded the Infant Jesus, the 
Virgin, and the saints there is always an idyllic, even a sensual note. 
One oÍF love or human desire. The influence of Mohammedanism 
would appear to have been favored by the mild, one might say the 
aphrodiaac dimace of Portugal. Our La^ of Ea^ctation in the 
image of a pregnant woman.*' SSo Gonçalo do Amarante comes near 
tummg human in order to take the women who beset him with 
promises and frictions.'' And St. John the Baptist is feasted on St. 
John's Day as if he were a handsome young lad and lover let loose 
among the marriageable maidens, who addrõs to him such nonsense 
as this: 

Whence comest thou, St. John, 

paganism in BofOgnae Cttholicinii, 
see AquiUno Ribeiro*» The Last 

Faun," published in my translation in 
Heart of Europe, the anthology ed- 
ited by Klaus Mann and Hermann 
Kesten (New York: L. B. Fischer; 
1943)1 PP> 193-204. (Tmishttir.) 

^® Soror Viohnte do Céu: Parnaso 
de Divinos e Humanos Versos, in 
Leite de Vasconcellos: Ensaios Etno^ 
gráficos (op. cit.). 

[The transUdon given is a free one. 
The or^inil lines are: 

Pastoràllo divino 
Qtu matas de amar 

Ay, tenad no fteebeht 
No mabf nâ, 

Qw no cabem más fiecbss 

En mi coraçon! 

Mas tíndf y fieebadme 

Matadme d^amor. 
Que nó quiro ?nás vidê 
Que morrir por vós! 


^^Nossa Senhora do 0\** See fi. 

30, note 78. (Translator.) 

The women would rub them- 
selves against the saint's l^;s. (Trans- 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

that thou comest so all bedewedf 


Whence contest thau^ O Baptist, 
that thou smeUest thus of rosemary? 

And the young fellows threaten the saintly protector of lovers and 
love's idylls in this manner: 

// the lasses do not care for me, 
J will beat the little samt?^^ 

It is impossible to conceive of a Portuguese or Luso-Brazilian 
Christianity without tliis intimacy between the w orshipper and the 
saint. Semi-obscene ceremonies came to be associated with St. An- 
thony, while on feast-days in colonial times São Gonçalo's image was 
batted around like a ball.^^'- In Portugal as in Brazil the favorite images 
of the Virgin and the Infant Jesus were decked out with trinkets, 
jewels, bracelets, earrings, and gold and diamond crowns, as if they 
had been members of the family, and the human attributes of king, 
queen, father, mother, son, and sweetheart were attributed to them. 
Each of them was closely associated with some phase of domestic 
and private life. There is no more interesting result of the many 
centuries of contact between Christianity and the religion of the 
Prophet— a contact sharpened at times into the asperities of rivalry— 
than the military character that certain saints came to take on in 
Portugal and later in Brazil. Miracle-working saints such as St. Án* 
diony, St. George, and St. Sebastian with us became captains or 
military leaders, like some powerful lord of the plantation. In the 
processions of old the heavily laden litters of the saints resembled 
those of great chieftains who had triumphed in war. Some of the 
holy ones were even placed on horseback and clad as generals. And 

»»"A11 bedewed": as a child that 
has wet itself. The original of these 
verses is: 

Donde vindes^ S. João, 
que vindes têo m^bMinhof 

too Donde vindes, ó BatistOf 

que cheirais a alecrim? 
^ As mofog não me querendo 

deu pancadas no sanáaho. 

From Portuguese folklore — In Bra- 
zil, when it rains on Sr. John's Night, 
it is said, without the least respect 

for the infant saint, tliat he is mijão 
(that is, has wet himself). They even 
say the sanie thine of the venerated 
St Ptter in case of rain on his nigfac 
Literally, "played peteca wmi.** 
The peteca is "a certain plaything, 
made of hide and feathers that is 
batted in the air with the palms of the 
hands; in Alagoas they play it widi a 
oomsfealk and a head of Indian com 
and call it corn-ball {boki de milho).** 
— Lima and BairosOi op^ cic (Trans- 

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The Portuguese Colonizer 229 

accompanying these processions there was always a feast-day multi- 
tude, a fraternal and democratic jumble of humanity. Great ladies in 
church-bonnets and prostitutes with ulcerous sores on their legs. 
Fidalgos and slave boys. 

The feast of the Church, in Brazil as in Portugal, is an institution 
that has in it as little as could be of the Nazarene, that side of him 
which was so detested by Nietzsche. The stem and gloomy side. 
With regard to Hispanic Christianity, it may be said in a general way 
that the whole of it was dramatized in this- festive cult of saints witii 
the arms and trappings of generals— São Tiago, St. Isidore, St. George, 
St. Emiliano, St. Sebastian— in this homage paid to saints who were, 
at the same time, Moor-slayers, champions of the cause of independ- 
ence. In Brazil die rites of St. George, on horseback and sword in 
hand, armed for combat against heretics, and those of St. Anthony, 
who, we do not know exacdy how it came about, has been militarized 
into a lieutenant-colonel, have prolonged through the colonial era 
and the Empire this nationalistic and militaristic, civic and patriotic 
aspect of peninsular Christianity, a Christianity that had been obliged, 
through clashes with Moor and Jew, thus to clothe itself in armor 
and don the warrior^s feathered bonnet. Certain "Praised be the Most 
Blessed Sacrament'* inscriptions, such as one that is to be seen today 
at the entrance of an old street in Salvador da Bahia, are but the 
remnants of war-cries from an age when Portuguese Christians felt 
themselves to be surrounded by enemies of the faith. 

Just as with regard to the Moors, social contact with the Jews left 
its unmistakable traces upon the Portuguese colonizers of Brazil, 
exerting an influence over their economic, social, and political life and 
dieir character. This influence, like that of the Moor, was in the 
direction of de-Europeanization. In either case, when the relations 
between the two peoples came to the point of bloody conflict, the 
cloak of mysticism which the struggle took on was not one that had 
to do with racial purity, but was concerned \\ irh purity of faith. 
Publicists who today presume to interpret the eri.nic and political 
history of Portugal after the European pattern, by explaining the 
conflicts with the Jews on the basis of racial hatred, end by con- 
tradicting themselves. Thus, Mário Saa, after advocating this thesis 
and defending it with all the ardor and verve of a pamphleteer, in the 
end has to confess that "everywhere the Jews have the consciousness 
of being Jews save in Portugal; there they do not have it. They came 
down through the ages under the designation of new-Christians, and 
it was only a little more than a hundred years ago that this ill-famed 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

designation was abolished by the decree of Pombal.^**^ The conse- 
quence was that, with the loss of religious uniformity, they became 
forgetful of themselves." In essence the Jewish problem in Portu- 
gal was always an economic one, created by the irritating presence 
of a powerful suction-mechanism operating upon the majority of the 
people, not only to the benefit of the Israelite minority, but to that of 
the great plutocratic interests in general.^"^ The interests of the kings, 
the great lords, and the religious orders. 

Thus have historical circumstances shaped the Jews. Max Weber 
attributes their development into a commerical people to a ritualistic 
determinism, which after their exile forbade their settling in any land 
and becoming tillers of the soil. Weber stresses what he sees as the 
dualism of their commercial ethics, permitting them two attitudes, 
one for their coreligionists and one for strangers.^"^ It was natural that 
such exclusiveness should give rise to economic hatreds. This goes 
to explain the protection that was accorded them by the kings and big 
landed proprietors, and in the shadow of this protection they pros- 
pered into large-scde plutocrats and capitalists. Concentrating in the 
cities and maritime pons, they contributed to the victory of the 
bourgeoisie over the great agricultural landowners, who were allied 
with the Church rather than with the crown. But it is interesting to 
observe that even the landed gentry, when weakened by the mari- 
time, anti-feudal policy of the sovereigns^ did not hesitate to seek a 
revivifying strength in the Israelite plutocracy, through the dowries 
brought them by wealthy Jewish brides. The blood of the best of 
Portugal's nobility thus mingled with that of the Hebraic plutocracy 

^^•^ Pombal, Portuguese Minister 
(1750-77), not only declared the In- 
dians in Brazil to be free men, but at 
home banished the Jesuits, abolished 
the Inquisition, and introduced other 
sweeping reforms. (Translator.) 

*•* Mario Sáa: A Invasão dos Judeus 
(Tibe hwaàon cf tbe Jews) (Lisbon, 

In connection with Freyre*s dis- 
cussion of the Jews in Portugal, the 
reader should bear in mind that what 
he is striving for, here as elsewhere 
tfaroaghont his wotk, is the rigorous 
ol^ectivity of the sodal scientist. One 
may recall, for example, the harsh 
things he has already had to say about 
the Portuguese (see p. 185 f.) and the 
Jesoit (see p. 173). Hisconcal dtcnm- 

stance happened to identify the Por- 
tuguese Jew with mercantilism and 
'*[UiitDcracy" in this era, and at times 
cast him in die role of oppressor, or 
seeming oppressor, the ally of die 
powerful against the "little people**; 
but to assume from this that the 
aodior regards such attriboDes as per- 
manent racial ones is to contradict the 
▼ery method of historical detennin» 
ism that he professes and so con- 
sistently endeavors to practice. It may 
also be recalled that Karl Marx, him- 
self a Jew, had eqoally haish, if not 
harsher, things to say on this snbjecc 

100 Weber: General EconoTttic 
History (translation) (New York, 

The Portuguese Colonizer 

when fidalgos threatened with ruin took to wife the daughters of rich 
stockjobbers. Hence it was that distinguished Jews, already of the 
aristocracy through their bonds with the nobility, came to take the 
essentially aristocratic position of supporting the Queen, Dona 
Leonor, against the people and the bourgeoisie in connection with the 
succession of His Majesty Dom Fernando. 

Vamhagen tdls us that, in Spain and Portugal, stockjobbing had 
come to monopolize the ''sweat and labor of the entire industry of 
the tiller of the soil and the shipbuilder, and even the revenues of 
State." And he adds: "The rapid circulation of funds made possible 
by bills of exchange, the speed with which large credits could be 
extended from Lisbon to SeviUe, to the fair of Medina, to Genoa, to 
Flanders, gave to this class-aided by the establishment of couriers, 
of whom they knew how to make good use— so great a superiority 
in business matters that no one else could compete with them. They 
even came to the aid of the State when it was hard pressed, and their 
assistance was reputed a great service and they were recompensed 
accordingly. Other times it was the heir to a great name and the 
representative of many lieroes \\ ho, by the way of accommodating 
himself to the fashion of the age, did not disdain to ally himself with 
the granddaughter of a converted hangman whose descendant had 
become a rich tratante^ or dealer, as the saying then was, without the 
word's taking on the evil sense that was to be associated with the 
actions of those same dealers." It may be seen that, in the case of 
the Jews as in that of the Moors, there was a great vertical mobility 
that ended in a mingling of strains in the marriage between those of 
diverse ethnic stocks. 

The Jews in Portugal constituted a great and subtle influence 
through commerce, through stockjobbing, through the high technical 
posts that they occupied in the administration, through their blood- 
bonds with the old military and landowning nobility, and, finally, 
through the superiority of their intellectual and scientific culture. 

This was especially true in the case of the physicians, who were 
powerful rivals of the priests in the influence they exerted over 
families and over the sovereigns. The bourgeois and cosmopolitan 
direction so precociously taken by the Portuguese monard^, con- 
trary to its first agrarian and military tendencies, was due above all 
to the economic interests represented by the Jews, who, strategically 
and out of the honor of "men of the nadon" for agriculture, were 
concentrated in the maridme cities, where they had an easy and 

lOT Vamhagen: HisMa Qerd do BrasU (op. dc). 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

permanent contact wnth the international centers of Jewish finance. 

Ir is obvious that the kings of Portugal did not protect the Jews 
out of love for the latter's beautiful Oriental eyes; they did it out of 
self-interest, forcing the Jcw^ to contribute, through heavy taxes and 
duties, to the wealth of the crown and the State. It is worthy of note 
that the Portuguese merchant marine was in large part developed 
through the special taxes paid by the Hebrews for every ship that was 
built and launched. In this manner the crown and State took ad- 
vantage of Israelite property for their own enrichment. Portuguese 
impenalism and imperialisc expansion were based upon Jewish pros- 

Chamberlain brings out the point that the Jews, from the begin- 
ning of the Visigoth period, were able to impose themselves upon the 
peninsular peoples as slave-traders and money-lenders; so that the 
inclination of the Portuguese to live off slaves would appear to have 
been abetted by this Sephardic impulse. An enemy of manual toil, the 
Jew from remote times had a bent toward slavery. Chamberlain tells 
us that it was Isaiah who was responsible for the idea that aliens ought 
to be tillers of the soil and workers in the vineyard for the He- 
brews.^^ And certain it is that many Jews in the peninsula, from a 
time beyond that of which we have any record, were the owners of 
Christian slaves and possessed Christian concubines. 

As for their economic specializarion, it would seem that it was later 
extended to the commerce in foodstufiís: '*dried fish and many things," 
says a petition of 1602, accusing them of being exploiters '*of the 
lime people, who live on dried fish." 

It was in 1 589 that the Table of Conscience and Order in consulta* 
tion with His Majesty took up the problem raised by the fact that the 
new-Chrisdans, in addition to their odier activities, were monopoliz- 
ing the professions of physician and apothecary, and the further fact 
that the realm was filling up with bachelors of the arts.^^ In either 
case the excess appears to us to have been due to the endeavor on the 
part of the new-Christians to rise in the social scale by making use of 
their Sephardic tradidons of intellectuality, the superiority in intel- 
lectual pursuits that they possessed over the rude sons of the soil 
To the Israelite influence ma^ be attributed much of the mercantilism 
in the diaracter and tendencies of the Portuguese; but it is also fitting 

^Hmiscoii Scewwt Ghamberlain: {History of the Portuguese New- 

The Foundations of the Nmeteentb Christians) (Lisbon, 1922). 

Century (London, iqii). ^^''Ibid. 

João Lúcio dc Azevedo: His- Ibid., cited by Mário Sáa, op. cit. 
tória dos Cristãos-N ovos Portugueses 

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The Portuguese Colonizer 233 

that we attribute to it the opposite excesses of a fondness for learned 
trappings,^^ legalism, juridical mysticism. The very ring on the ânger 
of the Brazilian bachdor of arts or one holding a doctt>r's degree, a 
ring set with an emerald or a ruby, impresses us as being reminiscent 
of me Orient and the Israelites. Another Sephardic trait may be seen 
in the mania for eyeglasses and pince-nez-employed as an outward 
mark of learning or of intellectual and scientific attainment. The 
Abbot of La Caille, who was in Rio de Janeiro in 175 1, tells us that 
everyone he saw who was â doctinr or bachelor in dieology, law, or 
medicine had a pair of glasses on his nose **paur se faire respecter des 
passansP ^ And that very mania itself dmt we all have for being 
doctors, in Portugal and above ail in Brazil— even our bookkeepers 
who are bachelors of commerce, our agronomists, our engineers, our 
veterinarians— what is ail this if not another Sephardic reminiscence? 

Varnhagen reminds us that it was by making use of the middle 
class and the educated laity that the monarchy in Portugal was able 
to free itself of the pressure of the clergy and the former landed 
gentry. He says: "This educated magistracy, by its learning, its plot- 
tings, its activity, its loquaciousness, and the protection afforded it by 
the Ordinances, drawn up by members of its own class, was to come 
to assume a dominant position in the country as time went on, and 
w^as even to win for itself a place among the topmost aristocracy, 
after having, in general, displayed a hostility to that class before at- 
taining it."^^^ This was a case of rapid social promotion. For tliis 

The author's word is bacharel- 
isfno, from bacharel, one who has 
finished the secondary course, cor- 
sespooding to the lycée or Qynma- 
sknn. (Translator.) 

Journal historique du voyage 
fait au Cap de Bonne Esperance 
(Paris, 1763), p. 211.— On the mania 
for spectacles, or quevedas^ in Por- 
tugal in the sixteenth, seventeench, 
and eighteenth centuries, see Júlio 
Dantas: Figuras de Ontem e de Hoje 
(Figures of Yesterday and Today) 
(Lisbon, 1914). The writer reminds 
US that the two traits that Montes- 
qnien parricniariy noticed in the Por- 
tuguese were their eyeglasses and 
their mustaches (les lunettes et . . . 
la moustache), Montesquieu inter- 
preted the flbfiue of spectacles in Por- 
tugal in the same fashion that the 

Abbot of La Caille did in Brazil. Let 
us not forget that, as it would appear, 
at least nearly all the doctors of medi- 
cine were Jews. The author of the 
Voyage de Marseille â Lima et dans 
les atttres hides Occidentales (Paris, 
1720), p. 132, states that the city of 
Salvador was filled with Jews. Frezier 
makes « nmilar observaticm. He tdb 
the story of a vicar who fled from 
Bahia to Holland, after long years 
of false Catholic devotion, when it 
became known that he was a Jew.— 
Relation du voyage de la Mer du Sud 
aux c&tes du CbUy et du Pérmt (Paris, 
1 7 16), p. if6. 

There must have been also many 
concealed Jews or individuals of 
Hebraic origin among the advocates 
who, from the sbcteenth century on, 
emig^rated from the Kingdom to the 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

educated bourgeoisie that so rapidly became aristocratic, through its 
university culture and its intellectual and juridical services rendered 
to the monarchy, was largely made up of new-Christians or "men 
of the nation," the remnants of another bourgeoisie: one of merchants, 
traders, stockjobbers, middlemen. So eager were the new-Christians 
to elevate their sons who had become doctors and bachelors to uni- 
versity chairs and the magistracy that the Table of G>nscience and 
Order at the end of the seventeenth century made up its mind to limit 
the bestowing of the bachelor's degree ia Portugal and suggested to 
the King that the number of sons whom a person of noble birth might 
send to the university be limited to two, and that the father who was 
an artisan be allowed to send but one, while the matriculation of new- 
Christians should depend upon His Majesty's licensing power; for 
"even with this, there will be a surplus of lettered ones in the realm." 
The new-Christians constituted the majority of lecturers in the higher 
schools-one of them being the famous doaor Antônio Homem; diey 
were prominent among the lawyers, magistrates, and physicians; and 
Coimbra, in the phrase of JoSo Lúcio de Azevedo, came to be a *'den 
of heretics,** so large was the number of Jews in students' cassocks 
and professors' gowns."* 

It is understandable that the new-Christians, with their badcground 
of usury, the slave trade, and stockjobbing, should have found in the 
university degrees of bachelor, master, and doctor a token of social 
prestige in keeping widi their Sephardic tendencies and ideak; it is 
natural that they should have found in the law, medicine, and higher 
education an ideal way to enter the aristocracy. It is interesting to ob- 
serve how their surnames were dissolved into the Germanic and Latin 
names of the old-Chiistians. Dom Manuel I, moreover, made it easy 
for the new-Christians to become naturalized and at the same time to 
change their family names to more aristocratic-sounding ones, by per- 
mitting them to make use of the noblest names in Portugal Other 
persons were prohibited from taking ''the surnames of fidalgos of 
known estate who have lands within the jurisdiction of our reahn," 
but this privilege was freely granted to the new-Chrisdans: "How- 

colonies, with their eyeglasses, their 

chicaneries, and their parasitism. Of 
the city of Goa, wliich in the six- 
teenth century' was invaded by usu- 
rers and shysters, a oontemporary 
writes: "The city of Goa has the ap' 
pearance of an academy of litigants, 
rather than that of a school of arms." 
—Ferdinand Denis: Portugal (Paris, 

1746). Of the Realm, an eigliteeittli- 

century observer has this to say: 
"The multitude of lawyers is notori- 
ous and their utility very doubtful." 
—Os Frades Julgados no TribumU dê 
Razão (The Friars Jtidged tt the Bar 
of Reason) (Lisbon, 18 14). 

1^'^ João Lúcio de Azevedo: His- 
tória dos Cristãos-Novos (op. cit.). 

The Portuguese Colonizer 235 

ever, those who have recently turned to our holy faith may take aad 
hold durmg their lifetime, and may pass on to their sons alone, names 
of whatsoever lineage they desire, without any penalty." All this 
shows us how intense was the mobility and how free the circulation, 
so to speak, from one race to another, and, literally, f nm one class 
to anomer, from one to another social sphere, even in the case of the 

The Jews in Portugal and in parts of Spam contributed to that 
honor of manual toil and the heat toward a system of slave labor 
that is so characteristic of both countries. They contributed to that 
state of artificial wealth which was observed by Francesco Guic- 
dardini, the Italian historian, who early in the sixteenth century came 
to the Hispanic peninsula as Florentine Ambassador to the King of 
Aragon: 'The poverty is great, and, as I see it, is due not so much to 
die nature of die country as to the temperament of its inhabitants, 
who are opposed to toil; they prefer to send to other nations those 
raw materials that their Kingdom produces and to buy them back in 
another form, as happens in the case of wool and silk, which they sell 
to foreigners and then buy back in the form of cloth and woven 
goods." To be excepted from Guicciardini's generalization are 
those agricultural zones which for long had cnjovcd the benefits of 
Moorish science and technique, among others the regions round about 
Granada. These were privileged zones. Another traveler, Navajero, 
describes them in truly lyrical fashion: a land thickly planted with 
trees, with much ripe fruit hanging from the boughs, a large variety 
of grapes, and dense groves of olive trees. And in the midst of all this 
luxuriant verdure, the houses of the Moorish descendants: small ones, 
it is true, but all of them with water and rosebushes, "showing that 
the land was even fairer when under Moorish dominion.'**" With 
the activity of this Moorish folk Navajero contrasts the negligence 
and sloth of the Hispanic population, which was not at all industrious 
and had no love whatever for the soil, its major enthusiasms being 
reserved for warlike undertakings and commercial adventures in the 
Indies. What was true of the Andalusian region was also to be ob- 
served in southern Portugal and in Algarve; here, too, were lands 
that had been benefited by the'Moors, and the Polish traveler Nicolas 
de Popielovo at the end of the fifteenth century found almost no 
difference between this region and Andalusia: "In all the lands of 
Andalusia, Portugal, and Algarve . . . the dwelUngs and the in- 
habitants are alike, and the difference in education and customs be- 

u« J. Gaida Mercadd: Bfpãilã vista ^^Ibid. 
pof lot Bttf0n§ifos (op> cit>)* 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

tween Saracens and Christians is only to be perceived in the matter 
of religion. . . It should be noted, in passing, that the Christians 
were not remarkable for their devoutness; they only confessed them- 
selves in the hour of death and fasted but rarely. It was not easy to 
practice fasting in a land that, in place of being poor in foodstuffs as 
was the greater part of the peninsula, had for long, thanks to the 
Moorish inheritance, been rich in grain, meat, and wine. 

With regard to Portugal, the point should be stressed that its be- 
ginnings were wholly agrarian; s^arian likewise was its early histoiy, 
kter perverted by the commercial activity of the Jews and the im- 
penaHst policy of the monarchs. Its first exports were also agrarian: 
products of the land such as olive oil, honey, wine, and wheat. For 
the Moors, as we have seen, got the most out of the soil, especially in 
the south, where irrigation was called for and where the region was 
rendered productive through the science of the invaders. 

The reconquest, although followed by the granting of large tracts 
of land to the great warriors, did not have the efiíect in Portugal of 
accentuating feudal traits and characteristics. In connection widi the 
land grants to individuals, the domains of die crown were alwa]^ set 
apart, to be cultivated by tenants or share-croppers, from whom the 
monarch through his overseers received a rent or share of the produce 
that was at times excessive, amounting to a half of the vintage, a third 
of the wheat crop. On the lands of die great lords it was incumbent 
upon die tenants to erect and keep in repair the casdes, mills, ovens, 
and granaries. Behind the salary or sdgnorial manâon, built of earth 
or padced clay— ancestor of the Big House of the Brazilian plantation 
—there was an economic unity. It cannot be said that die economic 
regime was from die first one of large-scale landownetshi^— the Kixig, 
the ecclesiastical foundations, and all those who shared m the spoik 
of the conquest being looked upon as big proprietors; it was, rather, 
a system of large holdings combined with smaller ones that had been 
parceled out for cultivation: "the soil of each lordly estate bdng 
divided into sub-units which in the beginning were in the charge of 
serfs, but which later were entrusted to tenants and share-croppers.^* 
Thus, in the first phase of its agrarian development, Portugal enjoyed 
a balance and a stsibility that neither of the two systems in itself would 
have been able to maintain. Small property, on the one hand, would 
not have been capable of the military tension necessary in the case 
of farming lands surroomfed by powerful enemies; and on the other 

Ibid. also Pypoc is dc Portugal Ecmwynico 

^i^João Lúcio de Azevedo: "Or- (Econo7mc Epochs in Portugal) (Lis- 
gamzação Económica'^ (loc. cie). See bon, 1929), by the same author. 


The Portuguese Colonizer 237 

hand, large-scale ownership, without the parceling-out of land, would 
not have given to the beginnings of Portuguese agriculture so great 
a glow of health. An additional advantage lay in the fact that the 
ownership of large estates in Portugal never meant an unbridled in- 
dividualian, inasmuch as the power of the crown, as well as that of 
the great religious corporations, which controlled some of the best 
land that there was for agricultural purposes, was verjr frequently as- 
serted against the interests of individuals. The right of the Church to 
its lands had been won through the military exertions of the friars in 
the wars of reconquest, and had afterwards been increased bv dona- 
tions and legacies on the part of monarchs and those persons wno were 
not fitted for an agricultural mode of life. '*In populating and putting 
under cultivation a country devastated by wars, a notable part was 
played by the Church," writes João Lúcio de Azevedo. "Around the 
monasteries," he goes on to say, "agricultural labor was developed. A 
considcral)lc parr of Estremadura was tilled and populated by the 
monks of Alcobaça, and as much may be said of other places and 
regions. Bishops, monks, and ordinary parish priests were great 
builders and repairers and busied themselves with works of the most 
meritorious sort in those rude times." ^ 

During the indecisive period of the struggle with the Moors it was 
chiefly in the shadow of the abbeys and the great monasteries that 
agriculture found a refuge, under the care of the monks, while in- 
dustry and the arts took shelter inside the cloisters. Esteves Pereira 
observes that the Portuguese monasteries, "as well as being houses of 
prayer and studies, were turned into centers and schools of industrial 
activity, into laborious agricultural colonies that plowed up the back- 
lands, tilled uncultivated fields, and rendered fertile various tracts of 
territory that until then had been a desert or had lain fallow." The 
same writer further informs us that individuals were in the habit of 
donating lands to the monasteries and monastic and religious corpora- 
tions, "since they themselves lacked the means of cultivating them.'' 
From this it is to be seen that the colonizing and civilizing capabilities 
of large-scale property were such as the small proprietors and absen- 
tee landlords did not possess. These latter were absorbed by the big 
estates, not only through donations made when they came to realize 
their own incapacity, but as a result of obligations incurred through 
loans which the wealthy religious corporations had readily made them, 
in fulfillment of their function as rural bankers, one that ihey exercised 

^Azevedo: Épocas de Portugal Al Esteves Pereira: A In- 

Bconâmco (op. dt.). dústria Portuguesa (op. de). 

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238 The Masters and the Slaves 

for a long time in the economic life of Portugal. This was advanta- 
geous to the agrarian interests, in that it did not permit lands and goods 

to pass into the possession of Jewish capitahsts or the rich burghers of 

the town. 

One point emerges as clear and evident to us, and that is, the crea- 
tive and by no means parasitic role that was played by the big re- 
ligious bodies -the Carthusians, the monks of Alcobaça, the Cistercians 
of St. Bernard, and other friars-in the economic development of Por- 
tugal. They were by way of being the true forebears of the great 
Brazilian proprietors, whose plantation Big Houses were likewise 
centers of industrial and charitable activity, being workshops, orphan 
asylums, hospitals, and hostelries all in one. As for the Portuguese 
friars, they were not the mere mountains of sterile flesh, choking in 
their own fat, that they are sometimes caricatured as being; in agrarian 
history of the time of the Aifonsos they were the most creative and 
most active element. They and the sovereigns. Along with the 
Moorish tradition, those large-scale agriculturists, die friars, were the 
force that in Portugal did most to ofEset the Jewish influence. If 
parasitism was later to invade the convents, it was for the reason that 
not even the formidable energy of the monJcs was able to row against 
the tide. Against the Atlantic Ocean, it might be said, in all literalness. 
Especially when the powerful Israelite interests, traditionally mari- 
time and anti-aerarian in character, were rowine in the direction of 

and commerce. 

Portugal even exported wheat in its first, agrarian phase of economic 
health, die period during which the monasteries were most actíve. 
"We sent bread to the E^lish from the reign of Senhor Dom Diniz 
down to that of Senhor Dom Fernando," is the reminder given us by 
the enlightened author of a certain brochure written at the end of the 
eighteenth century in defense of the Portuguese friars.^ As this 
publicist saw it^ the decline of agriculture was to be attributed to die 
moda of the absentee landlords, given over to die luxurious life of 
the capitak; whereas in the case of the ecdesiasdcal holdings it was 
not so easy to be guilty of neglect and absentedsm: the estates m the 
hands of the friars "are ordinarily better cultivated, for the reason that 
if a prelate in charge is neglectful, his superior upon his visitations will 
admonisli him, and his companions will accuse him of his ignorance 
or negligence; thus it is that these properties always have eyes and 

122 Oi Frades Julgados no Tribunal Friar ? , Doctor of Coimbra 

da Razão {The Friars Judged at the (Lisbon, 1814). 
Bar of Reason)^ posthumous work by 

Copyriyi iicu I : i ulCI lal 

The Portuguese Colonizer 239 

arms to aid them, and hence their yield is constantly bdi^ im- 
provecL"*^ The agricultural wealth of Portugal was, accordingly, 
better conserved in the convents than in the hands of private in- 
dividuals; it was well administered by the friars and very badly by 
the lords of large and sterile esutes. Beckf ord, visiting Portugal in the 
eighteenth centory-already a country of ruined ndalgos-sdll re- 
ceived an impression of great abundance from the monasteries. The 
Idtchen of Alcobaça, for example, was an object of wonderment to 
him. He confesses that in no convent in Italy, France, or Germany 
had he beheld so large a space devoted to culinary rites. There were 
many fresh fish from the monastery's own waters, an abundance of 
game from the neighboring forests, and greens and ripe fruit of every 
sort from the gardens tended by die monks. Mountains of flour and 
mpt. Huge jars of olive oil. And laboring amid this tremendous 
abundance of pastry, fruits, and green vegetables was a numerous 
tribe of servants and laymen, all of them happy and singing as they 
prepared the tarts and cakes for the hospitable Alcobaça table. And 
when his foreign guest marveled at all this, the Abbot remarked to 
him: "In Alcobaça, no one is going to die of hunger." ^ 

There is nothing to indicate that the country houses of Portugal 
—unless it was that of Alarialva-had anything like this abundance 
and variety of victuals, all of them fresh and of the best qualitv, with 
which to regale the visitor. Victuals intended for the sustenance of 
hundreds of ecclesiastics, which also were oiTcred to numerous 
trav'clcrs and needy ones. Yet this same Portugal, which had reached 
the point w here it could export wheat to England, in its later mer- 
cantile phase was to have to import everything it needed for its table, 
with the exception of salt, wine, and olive oil. From abroad came 
wheat, rye, cheese, butter, eggs, and poultry. And the last strongholds 
of agricultural production, and hence of fresh and wholesome food, 
were the convents. 

From this it may be seen that Ramalho Ortigão was not without 

a basis in fact in evolving his curious theory with regard to the Por- 

^ Ibid. 

William Beckf ord: Excursion to 
the Monasteries of Alcobaça and 
Bãtíúba (London, 1835). See also the 
same author's Italy, luith Sketches 
from Spain and Portug^ (London, 

Ramalho Ortigão (1836-1915) 
vm one of Portugal's leading wiicen 
of the nineteenth century. Progres- 

sive in outíook and in all domains, 
with a remarkably balanced and virHe 
personality, he was an exponent of 
social criticism in literature and ed- 
ited a publication called As Farpas 
(The Banderillas) that was something 
of a cross between a pamphlet and 
a magazine and that made literary his- 
tory. (Translator.) 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

tugiiese friars and the profound influence the convents exerted upon 
the progress of the country. The monks, he argued, had constituted 
for a number of centuries the thinking class of the nation; and once 
the rehgious orders had been suppressed, Portuguese civiHzation re- 
mained acephalous, there being no other class to inherit their intel- 
lectual authority. All this, Ortigão concluded, was due to the regular 
and perfect diet of the friars, whereas the other classes, with an ir- 
regular and imperfect one, were handicapped in thdr capacity for 
labor and study by an alimentary insufficiency. 

Brazil was colonized by a nation of the undernourished. The 
prevalent conception of the Portuguese as an ovemourished individual 
IS a false one. Ortigão comes to grips with this error, even though it 
is by an uncertain route: the reduced consumption of meat in Portu- 
gal. It would be unhygienic if in a country with an African climate 
die same amount of meat were consumed as in northern lands. The 
great publicise was building up an ideal of a Portognese nourished on 
die same abundance of beef as the Englishman, which would be an 
absurdity. But the reduced consumprion of meat that in the course of 
his researches he discovered in Lúèon is frightening by reason of the 
poverty to which it points: a kilogram and a half [3.3 pounds] per 
month for each inhabitant.^ 

The deficiency, however, was not limited to beef, but applied to 
milk and vegetables also. The preponderance of dried fish and pre- 
served food in their diet appears to have had a speedy and unfavorable 
effect upon the health of die Portuguese people. 'The lower classes 
live poorly, their daily food consisting of cooked sardines," we learn 
from Trom and Pippomani,^ who were in Portugal in the year 
1520. 'Iftarely do they buy meat, for the cheapest food is this variety 
of fish. . . And the bread was ''not at all good ... all full of 

12c Ramalho Ortigão: As Farpas 
(Lisbon).— There are a number of 
modem physiologists, like McCollum, 
Siimnofids, Benedict^ McGbuccissoii, 
McCay, Nitti, and Grichton Browne, 
who associate the amount of proteins 
consumed with the prosperity and 
efficiency of peoples. Especially meat 
and milk. The statistics furnished by 
Roberts for the Department of 
Agricolture of the United States ap- 
pear to indicate this relation. The 
consumption of meat is greater in 
countries with a more efficient and 

prosperous population: Australia, 262 
pounds; United States, 150; England 
and Ireland, 122} Germany, 99; 
France, 80; Sweden and Noriray, 62. 
—"Annual Production of Aninuus for 
Food and Per Capita Consumption of 
Meat in the United States" (U. S. De- 
partment of Agriculture, 1905), cited 
by Ruy Coutinho: Valor Social da 
Alimentação (Social Value of Diet) 
(São Paulo, 1935). 

*2'^The Venetian ambassadors pre- 
viously mentioned a number of times. 

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The Portuguese Colonizer 


earth.'* Veal was scarce, and wheat came from abroad, from France, 
Flanders, and Germany .^^ 

Estrabão states that in the penmsola, prior to the Roman occupa- 
tion, the inhabitants for three-quarters of the 3^ear lived on acorn 
bread— that is, on a dough made of mashed acorns pounded after they 
are dried. Wine only on feast-days, at banquets, or on similar festive 
occasions, when the menu would obviously be a more plentiful and 
varied one."* 

This distinction, indeed, between feasts and banquets and the diet 
of every day is one that dates from remote times. Á distinction also 
is to be made between the diet of a small number of the rich and the 
vast majority of the population— the masses of the cities and the coun- 
tryside. Generalizations on the subject are commonly based upon 
exceptional instances, which are practically the only ones reported by 
the chroniclers; whence the belief in a Portuguese who is traditionally 
a merrymaker, always surrounded by a host of good things ro eat. 
Whole oxen roasted on the spit. Poultry, pork, lamb. All of which 
results from a failure to make allowance for the fact that the chroni- 
cles record only the exceptional, the extraordinary. 

Alberto Sampaio tells us that in the peninsula, at the time of the 
Roman rule and thereabouts, rye, barley, oats, bran, and wheat were 
cultivated— the wheat, owing to the small amount of it that was pro- 
duced, being reserved for the rich, "while the most common practice 
was to mix rye and white corn." Of the leguminous vegetables, the 
historian assures us that the following were to be found: beans, peas, 
lentils, and chick-peas. The Romans introduced various species of 
fruits into the provinces and developed the culture of other, indige- 
nous varieties; but it was the Arabs who brought oranges, lemons, and 
tangerines, together with advanced processes of preserving and of 
putting up "dried fruits," processes that were later to be advanta- 
geously brought to Brazil by those Portuguese matrons of the six- 
teenth century M ho so quickly became skilled in the making of sweets 
from tropical fruits. 

A circumstance not to be lost sight of and one that was particularly 
unfavorable to agriculture, and hence to the supply of fresh food in 
Portugal, even in the days when the country was enjoying its greatjest 
degree of economic health, was the crises that the land had to un- 
dergo: climatic crises on the one hand; and on the other, social crises 

^ Alexandre Herca]fliio:0|MJf «olor Estrabão, in Alberto Sampaio; 

(op. cit.). Estudos (op. cit.). 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

or disturbances— wars, epidemics, invasions, and the like. But with all 
this ir is still safe to conclude that in the beginning, before being trans- 
formed into a martime power, the Portuguese people went through a 
period of balanced diet, which, it may be, goes to explain much of its 
efficiency and superior qualities of boldness and initiative down to 
the sixteenth century. This is indicated by old documents that have 
been deciphered by Alberto Sampaio. For example, the menus of the 
meals furnished the royal major-domos when diey came to receive 
the rent. The mentis consisted sometimes of bread, meat^ and wine, 
and at other times of bread, wine, boiled milk, yonng cocks» pancakes, 
pork, cheese, butter, eggs, etc. Sampaio is the ârst to note how much 
more common milk-products were then than now in the Portuguese 
diet, which has since become impoverished in this respect and in fresh 
meat. This latter fact the distinguished historian, with obvious parti- 
ality, attributes to "the cultural revolution brought about by the in- 
troduction of Indian com." 

The causes of the impoverishment; as I see it, are more deep-gdng 
and complex. It is a reflection of the state of widespread poverty that 
was created in Spain by the abandonment of agriculture, sacrificed to 
maritime and commercial adventures, and that was later heightened 
by monoculture, stimulated in Portugal by England through the 
Treaty of Methuen. The accounts of banquets given us in the chroni- 
cles, the feast-day traditions, and the laws against ^uttoi^ should 
not leave us with the illusion of an ovemourished people. Sampaio 
himself, apropos of the populations of Mmho, enables us to glimpse 
the contrast between the weak and insufficient diet of every day and 
the enormous banquets on festive occasions. "On feast-days," says 
Sampaio, '*the victuals are piled high: great tureens and bowls filled 
with food; and big platters with tremendous portions follow one an- 
other in endless succession, interspersed with pitchers and bumpers 
of young wine that; however it may grate upon the palate, has the 
effect of stimidadng the appetite, which for the matter of that needs 
no stimulation." All this points to a normally poor diet; for let us 
never lose sight of the exceptional character of these feasts, their very 
intemperance leading us to think of badly nourished stomachs that; so 
many times a year, are permitted this expansiveness and excess, as if 
in compensation for die parsimonious diet of ordinary days. 

Fastings, also, have to be taken into account by anyone who makes 
a study of the diet of the Portuguese people, above aU during those 
centuries when domestic life was being watched over by the stem 

Alberto Sampaio: Estudos (op. ^^^Ibid. 


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eye of the Inquisidoii. By the Inquisition and the Jesuit. Two tyran- 
nical sets of eyes, taking the place of God's at times. Watching over 

It is possible diat the fasts and those frequent áiys when only fish 
was permitted are to be explained by weighty reasons of State. The 
fastings would have contributed toward establishing a balance be- 
tween the limited supply of fresh food and the needs of the popula- 
tion, by encouraging the people to follow the regime of dried fish 
and preserves, imported from abroad in good part. The registry-book 
of Gaia, containing a letter-royal of Affonso III, in 1255, shows us 
that even in those days of comparative economic health, dried or salt 
fish loomed large in the diet of the Portuguese. The fishermen would 
cast their nets not only along the coast of their own country, but 
alon^ the shores of Galida as well, salting down their haul and send- 
ing It home for popular consumption. As far back as the thirteenth 
century, fresh meat had begun to be a luxury or a sin, with salt &à\ 
reigning triumphant and virtuous. Léon Poinsard, in his study The 
Unknown Portugal, reminds us that in the Middle Ages the Portu- 
guese exported ^ fish to Riga, and that in 1353 Edward III of 
England granted them the right to fish off the English coasts."* But 
this excessive consumption of dried fish, along with a deficiency of 
fresh meat and milk, became still more marked with the decline of 
agriculture in Portugal and must have had a good deal to do with the 
reduced economic capacity of the Portuguese people from the fif* 
teenth century on, a circumstance that is vaguely attributed by some 
to racial decadence and by others to the Inquisition. 

P(Hnpey o Gener assumes that 'Svith the fasts preached by tiie defg^ 
• • • eating litde and badly" had degenerated "into a custom." He is 
referring to Spain, but what he says might be applied to Portugal: his 
curious manner of explaining how it came about that "the strong and 
intelligent races that previously had populated the peninsula had be- 
come weak and puny, physically and morally debilitated, unproduc- 
tive and visionary." Judging from the words just quoted, the 
Spanish critic appears to me to be inclined to place too great a burden 
of responsibility upon the Church for the deficiencies in Spanish 
diet, an exaggeration with which I by no means agree. It seems to me 
to be beyond a doubt that the religious appeal to the virtues of 
temperance, frugality, and abstinence, together with an ecclesiastical 
discipline that restrained in the people the appetite for a heavily laden 

^Léon Poinsard: Le Portugalin' celona, 1888), quoted in Fidelino de 
connu (Paris, 1910). Figueiredo: Crítica do Exílio (Critic 

Pompeyo Gener: Hercjias (Bar- cism from Exile) (Lisboa, 1930)* 

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7 *he Masters and the Slaves 

tabic— reducing that appetite to a minimum, givinor it free rein only 
on feast-days and stifling it on other prescribed days -there would 
seem to be no doubt that all this, consciously or unconsciously, was 
in the interest of that desirable balance between the limited means of 
subsistence and the appetites and needs of the popolation. It is not, 
therefore, the clergy or the Church that is deserving of criticism. The 
evil is deeper-rooted than diat. It dates from the decline of agriculture 
due to the highly abnormal development of maritime commerce. It 
comes from the impoverishment of the land following its abandon- 
ment by the Moors. Observers of peninsular life in modem times, 
following the era of discovery and conquest and the expulsion of the 
Moors, are the most insistent upon stressing the extreme parsimony 
of the Portuguese or Spanish diet. "Temperance or, better, abstinence 
is carried to unbelievable limits," writes one of them. Another empha- 
sizes the utter simplicity of the meal that was eaten by the poor: a slice 
of bread and an onion. In the seventeenth century hunger reached 
even the palaces: the wife of the French Ambassador in Madrid at 
that time tells of having been with eight or ten ladies-in-waidng who 
for some while had not known what it was like to eat meat. People 
were dying of hunger in the streets.^* 

Already in the preceding century -the century in which Brazil 
was discovered— Clenardus"* noted that even the gentry among the 
Lusitanians were taéUshheaters, that they had little to eat and what 
they had was not of good quality. These letters of Clenardus, we may 
observe in passing, are admirable for tfadr realism and exactitude. 
They are better than those of Sassetti,^ who has a tendency to 
caricature that always results in distorting the subject-his abuse of 
the picturesque leads to a loss of clarity in the data he brings us. 
Qenardus, on the contrary, is restrained in his witticisms and presents 
us with an honest and faithful portrait of Lusitanian life in his time. 
Before Alexandre de Gusmão ^ had raised his cry of alarm against 
the regime of slave labor in Portugal, blaming this institution for the 

Buckle, op. cit.; Mercadel: 
Espana vista por los Estranjeros (op. 

Nicolaus Genardus (Nicholas 

Cleynarts), Renaissance humanist 
(1493 or 1494-1542), professor of 
Greek and Hebrew at Louvain, came 
to Portugal from Salamanca as tutor 
to die Infante Henrique in 1533. He 
was noted for his witty letters, many 
of which were addressed from Por- 
tugal. (Translator.) 

Filippo Sassetti (1540-88) was a 
Florentine writer of the Renaissance 
era who traveled widely and wfaoae 
impressions are given in his Letters^ 

a modem edition of which was pub" 
h'shcd at Florence in 1932. (Tranda- 

^Alexandre de Gusmão, a Jesuit 
writer (1629-1724), bora at Lisbon, 
spent eighty-five of his ninety-ávc 
years in BraziL (Translator.) 

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The Portuguese Colonizer 245 

indolence of the Portuguese native, his slowness of movement^ and his 
Sterility, Qenardus had noted the pernicious effects of the enslave- 
ment of war-captives upon Lusitanian character and economy. The 
difference being that where Alexandre de Gusmão was basing his 
diagnosis upon an empire that was already beginning to decay, 
Qenardus was prescribing for the first signs of hemorrhs^ there 
is any people more given to laziness than the Portuguese, I do not 
know where it tnsxs. . . . This people prefers to put up with any- 
thing rather than learn any kind of profession." And an mdolence so 
great could only be due to slaveiy: '*A11 services are performed b^ 
Negro and Moorish captives. Portugal is being overrun widi dus 
race of people. One could almost believe that in Usbon there are more 
slaves, male and female, than there are Portuguese of £ree condition. 
• . . The richest have slaves of both sexes, and there are individuals 
who make a good profit from the sale of young slaves, born in the 
house. I even come to think that they breed them as they do pigeons, 
for purposes of sale, without being in the least offended by the 
ribaldries of the slave girls." ^'^^ With the excessive number of slaves 
Clenardus associates the horrible dearth of the things of life in Por- 
tugal. The care of his beard alone cost him a fortune every week, and 
the barber, like a lord, kept him cooling his heels. Services and food- 
stuffs alike— all had to be snatched from the hands of dealers and 
artisans; and one had to wait on the butcher, also, as much as two or 
three hours. 

iMeanwhilc, if the Portuguese had to suffer want, they preferred 
to do it in the privacy of their homes. When they went out, they 
imitated the airs and pomp of the gentry. At home they might fast 
and do without things, but in the street they paraded their grandeur. 
The case of the saying: 'Tor jorix limit a fiiroj'j, por dentro fmdambo 
("Outside he's a swell; inside, a ragamuffin"). 

Qenardus in his letters portrays for us the "pompous radish-eaters 
who go through the streets followed by their servants, the number of 
whom is greater than that of the reis that they spend on the upkeep 
of their houses." So great was this display in the matter of slaves that 
some gentlemen were accompanied by one to remove their hats, an- 
other to take their capes, a third with a brush to dust their clothing, 
and a fourth with a comb for their hair. But all this opulence in the 
street; in the matter of servants and apparel, was at the eiq>ense of a 
true asceticism at home. Those brilliant garments meant a real indi- 

"®Thc letters of Clenardus have his book O Huniamsnio em Fortugal 
been admirably translaced by Cardinal (op. cit.). 
Gonçalves Geiejeiia and published in 

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The Masters and the Slaves 

gence at the table, an absolute lack of domestic comfort. Or else it 
meant running into debt, a situation that was common in the two 
Spains, as later in Hispanic America, among the Brazilian plantation- 
owners, for instance. In speaking of the Hispanic folk at the begin- 
ning of the sixteenth century the historian Guicciardini had made this 
generalization: '"If they have an3rthing to spend, they put it upon their 
backs, or their horses' backs, makii^ a di^lay of more than they 
possess at home, where they subsist wkh an extreme niggardliness and 
so economically that it is a marvel to behold." From another Italian 
humanist, Lucio Marineo, we have precisely the same observation: 
"One thii^ I must not fail to state: that the majority of Spaniards 
take great care with their clothing and attire themselves very well, 
being folk who spend more on their garments and bodily trappings 
than they do on food and other things, however, necessary these other 
things may be." The same report was made by English and French 
travelers in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Brazil, where the 
splendor of silks and the excessive number of slaves seldom reflected 
a degree of domestic comfort equal to that of the nations of nordiem 
Europe. In Bahia, at the end of the .eighteenth century, Dampier 
found enormous but poorly furnished mansions, which, he notes, was 
a state of affairs that meant little to the Portuguese and Spaniards. 
Hence the Big Houses of plantation-owners that were to be seen, all 
of them with scanty furnishings and with few pictures on the walls- 
only here and there, in certain houses with greater pretensions to re- 

It is, as I see it, a mistake to suppose that the Portuguese was cor- 
rupted by his colonization of Africa, India, and Brazil. By die time 
he had come to project his shadow, as that of a great owner of slaves, 
over two-diirds of the world, the sources of tus economic life and 
health had already been imperiled. He was the corrupter, not lhe 
victim. The peril came, not so much from the eflFort— truly an ex- 
hausting one for so small a people -expended in colonizing the tropics 
as from the victory, within the Kingdom, of commercial over agri- 
cultural interests. Maritime commerce led to colonial imperialism, and 
it is probable that, independently of the latter, by reason of the ex- 
cesses of the former alone, Portugal would have been ruined as an 
agricultural and economically autonomous country. The slavery that 
corrupted was not colonial hut domestic, not that of Guinea Negroes 
so much as that of captive Moors. One can understand why those 

^'•Mercadal, op. cic. William Dampier: Voyages . . . 

i^Ibid. aux Terres Australes, etc (op. cic). 

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The Portuguese Colonizer 247 

who founded the culture of the sugar-cane in the American tropics, 
under physical conditions so adverse, should have become inbued 
with the belief that * Vork is for the black maiL" But some time be- 
fore that their forebears, living in a mild climate, had transformed the 
verb trabalbar (to work) into mourejar (to work like a Moor). 

As to just when Portuguese economy became possessed of the 
furious and parasitic passion for exploiting and transporting in place 
of producing wealth, it is not easy to state precisely. Two antagonistic 
Portugals had coexisted for some time, being mingled and confounded 
in the seething caldron of wars and revolutions, before bourgeois and 
oonrnierdal Portugal had emerged as the victor. Poinsard notes the 
coexistence of two types of family and of social background among 
the Portuguese: the feudal family and that of the commoner.*** But 
the two great antagonistic forces that confronted each other were 
economic in character: agrarian \ crsus commercial interests. 

The dechne of an agrarian economy in Portugal and the manner 
in which the nation was commercialized, to the point where it became 
one big business house with the King himself and the leading nobles 
transformed into business men -all this has been splendidly described 
by Costa Lobo, Alberto Sampaio, Oliveira Martins, and João Lúcio de 
Azevedo.^" Before them, however, the old economists of the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries had hit upon the inconveniences of large- 
scale property on the one hand and of mercantilism on the other. The 
latter robbed agriculture of its human arms and best energies. The 
former made it difficult to take advantage of vast regions that lay un- 
cultivated and sterile. "For being the heritage of many sons," writes 
Severim de Faria in his Notícias de Portugal {Tidings of Portugal) 
(Lisbon, 1Ó55), "three quarters of it remain to be sown, and for this 
reason many of its fruits are lacking which might be gleaned from it, 
along with the benefits that might accrue to many who have no place 
where such a harvest is to be had.'' There was another economist 
among those of the sixteenth century who is to be admired for his 
intuition and good sense. He displays an understanding of how it was 
that Portugal, even though master of the Indies and of Brazil, through 
its lack of productivity and its satisfaction with its position as a purely 
commercial nation, could turn into a mere exploiter or transmitter of 
wealth: "Foreigners shall have the use of what our industry discovers 
in them [the colonies] and what our labor produces, and we shall 

Leon Poinsard, op. cit. (op. cit.); Oliveira Martins: História 

A. Cosca Lobo: A História da de Portugal (op. cit.)i João Lúcio de 

Sociedade em Portugal no téeulo XV Azevedo: Épocas de Fortugd Bco^ 

(op. ck.); Alberto Sampaio: Estudos nâmico (op. etc) 

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come to be in Brazil so many administrators for Europe, such as the 
Castilians are, and it will be for Europe that the gold and silver will 
be taken from the bowels of the earth." This prophetic voice, fore- 
telling so clearly the exploitation of Portugal by England, was that of 
Ribeiro de Macedo, who in 1675 wrote his essay On the Introduction 
of the Arts}^ 

Much has been made of the oceanic character of the Portuguese 
domain, as being the irresistible motive that led the Lusitanian people 
to abandon an agricultural way of life for one of commerce suid 
overseas conquests. In accordance with this theory, Portuguese mer- 
cantilism, like the independence of the reahn in itself, would have been 
the inevitable consequence of geographic conditions. All this is de- 
termined with a Moslem-like fatalism; and the old man of Restelo 
into whose mouth Camões puts the words that dramatize the conflict 
between the agricultural and oceanic interests was merely repeating 
the naive gesture of King Canute in trying to halt the waves. 

But geographical conditions do not determine in an absolute man- 
ner the development of a people; nor today are we to put our faith 
in the gec^phic and ethnic peculiarities of Portugal in relation to 
the peninsula as a whole. The oceanic character of Portugal as op- 
posed to the continental character of Spain constitutes but an in- 
significant factor of differentiation: **for the Spanish domain has its 
oceanic qualities, jusc as the Portuguese has continental ones,*' observes 
Fidelino de Figueiredo; and the erudite historian goes on to remind 
us that "there have been maritime peoples, such as the English and